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Lawton Police Department holds defense tactics training for Cadets

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Cadets training to become Lawton Police officers broke a good sweat during their defensive tactics training on Wednesday.

They went over handcuffing, striking potential suspects with their elbows, arms, and knees. It was very physically demanding, but the goal of the academy is to mentally prepare the cadets to be able to handle anything when faced with situations they're called out to in the real world.

Using his elbow and arm, Cadet Felix Santillan is practicing his self defense skills and guarding the weapon on his hip. It's all part of several scenarios these future officers are learning to handle in tactics training. Santillan and the other cadets are just half way through the 20 week LPD course, each exercise preparing them physically and mentally for careers as officers.

"You're going to be interacting with people day in and day out and sometimes you're this close and it could happen in the blink of an eye," said Santillan. "You have to be ready for it."

Santillan used to be a jailer for the Jackson County Jail, and that's what made him want to become an police officer. In training, he learned how to use his arms and hands to hit a potential suspect, how to stand and use his feet.

"They show a few examples, they do it right and correctly, then they break us off and wander around and look at us, and if they see something off, they stop us, correct it and we continue going," said Santillan.

Captain Ron Seratte is one of the five defensive tactic instructors leading this two week section of the training course. He's seen a lot during his 17 years on the force, and pushes each person beyond their comfort zone.

"Some of them have not been in a confrontation at all in their life, as young as they are," said Seratte. "We try to put that across to them out here...how to handle themselves and how to be prepared on the street that way."

Santillan says he knows he will now be ready for anything once he gets his official badge. And, he says it's more than training for a job, it's a career and his passion.

"It's great," said Santillan. "I love it. It's what I'm going to do for the rest 20 to 30 years of my career here in Lawton, so I'm excited."

The cadets still have about 10 more weeks of training before they graduate. They will focus next on learning how to use batons, weapon retention, and receive more training on ground fighting. They will be tested on all the defense tactics they've learned at the end of next week, and if they fail, they will have to re-do the course.

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