Practice makes perfect: La Crosse Police train on non-lethal procedures

FRENCH ISLAND, Wis. (WKBT) – In dangerous situations, police often use techniques to prevent the worst outcomes. An annual training event for La Crosse police officers helped them practice those procedures and learn something new.

Whether it’s responding to a call or chasing a suspect, officers have to be prepared.

“We go through a lot of training,” Investigator Alex Burg said.

La Crosse Police Department officers took part in an annual training day to practice Emergency Vehicle Operations and Integrating Communications Assessment and Tactics techniques.

“We absolutely need to practice this technique as it’s not something they would normally do,” Lt. Cory Brandl said.

Officers practiced pursuit intervention techniques, also known as PIT. In the event of a chase, officers would be able to slow down and stop the driver safely.

“Muscle memory is to not make contact with another vehicle, so here we are training to make gentle contact with another vehicle. That can be hard to overcome,” Brandl said.

Burg led officers on how to respond to situations where a subject has a weapon that is not a firearm.

“Most often it seems to occur with knives, but you know it could be really anything,” he said.

This is the first year ICAT will be used in the La Crosse Police Department. The program was developed after a study found that in 2015, 39 percent of officers involved in shootings that were fatal did not include a firearm.

“What steps could have been taken to prevent it from happening in the first place,” Burg said.

Burg says officers should remember to create space between them and the subject. The distance allows officers time to communicate and set up less lethal options.

“Often times, a taser is what all officers in La Crosse carry,” he said.

That allows officers to make decisions that will protect everyone involved.

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Practice makes perfect: La Crosse Police train on non-lethal procedures