Local police agencies are waiting to review their self defense training classes until the Oklahoma City police department comes out with more details about an accident involving the death of a recruit.
On Friday, 38-year-old Kelley Chase was in a training class in Oklahoma City when he was appropriately grabbed by his trainer and his head hit the mat. Oklahoma City’s Chief of Police, Bill Citty said Chase was unable to stand up. Nurses took him to the hospital where he later died.
“It wasn’t a violent or aggressive move but he did go back and hit his head on the mat,” said Chief Citty. “It appears the training was appropriate and the move was appropriate. We’ve been doing it for 11 years.”
A few days later, Chief Citty announced all self defense training classes will now require a helmet.
“We won’t do any more training without helmets,” said Citty. “We need to do everything we can to protect these recruits. We just have to.”
Bixby Police Sgt. Andy Choate told FOX23 News he wanted to hear the details of the accident before he would discuss changing their safety precautions.
“At this point we don’t have a lot of information,” said Sgt. Choate. “You can’t allow yourself to have a knee-jerk reaction, accidents happen.”
He also admitted that training can be dangerous.
“There have always been sprains and even some broken limbs,” said Sgt. Choate.
He said they use padded rooms to train in at the Bixby High School Wrestling room. They only use helmets for training that would require an active shooter or clearing a building.
Tulsa police told FOX23 they use padded rooms too and sometimes use padded helmets.
Chief Citty does not expect any criminal charges to come out of Chase’s death.
Chase leaves behind a wife and two young children.