A new bill proposed in the Michigan legislature as part of ongoing police reforms, introduced by GOP Representative Ryan Berman of Commerce Township would require that all Michigan police cadets receive at least their blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or have related grappling expertise.

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The bill, House Bill 4525, is an attempt to help police manage suspects with less lethal methods. The language of the bill would require at least a blue belt certification for police cadets in Michigan. Representative Berman is well versed in the law enforcement field as a lawyer, a reserve police officer, and previously served as a reserve deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

Berman told Fox47 in Lansing that too many officers have been training in outdated and ineffective methods:

That stuff doesn’t really work, it doesn’t work in the field and it doesn’t work on resisting suspects. It’s really to help them so these situations don’t happen, so they don’t use unnecessary force and they will have more tools in their toolbox, if you will, to handle any situation that arises...So then they don’t have to use excessive force, they don’t have to punch someone 15 times to submit.

For officers to bypass the BJJ requirement, the officers may have "grappling training" as outlined in the bill:

  • A minimum of two years as a varsity high school wrestler.
  • Brown belt-level judo expertise.
  • Two or more Mixed Martial Arts fights as a licensed MMA fighter.

Yearly certifications in grappling would also be required by the new law.

For years many in the combat sports community have partnered with law enforcement agencies to teach officers effective grappling in subduing suspects. The most popular program, Adot-A-Cop, is a nonprofit, donation-based program that allows active-duty patrolling police officer's around the country to train at any Adopt-A-Cop BJJ affiliated academy and will pay 100% of the officer’s membership until they reach the rank of Blue belt.

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