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Syracuse police are getting a jiu jitsu instructor

Haven Jiu Jitsu
Maxwell Mimaroglu
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Ben Tallini, black belt jiu jitsu instructor, demonstrates a move during a class at Haven Jiu Jitsu in Baldwinsville, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

The Syracuse police department is turning to Brazilian jiu jitsu for help de-escalating tense situations. The training has been found to reduce police and citizen injuries because the grappling style allows officers to subdue suspects without physical harm.

Syracuse officers will start training next month after local leaders approved a $22,000 contract with jiu jitsu instructor Ben Tallini.

Haven Jiu Jitsu
Maxwell Mimaroglu
/
Ben Tallini, black belt jiu jitsu instructor, poses during a class at Haven Jiu Jitsu in Baldwinsville, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

Tallini, a black belt, said police departments are increasingly teaching officers the martial art.

“We wanna make the push that all police, all the time are getting consistent training,” Tallini said.

He said the combat style lends itself to situations where police officers can subdue suspects without instigating violence.

Syracuse is actually the latest in a wave of police departments to adopt the training after a popular study at a law enforcement agency in Georgia.

Syracuse Police Station
Maxwell Mimaroglu
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A sign sits outside the Syracuse Police Department in downtown Syracuse, Feb. 16, 2022. (Photo by Max Mimaroglu)

Marietta Police Department officers trained in jiu jitsu reported 53% less injuries to suspects when compared to officers not familiar with the combat style. The department also reported 48% drop in injuries to officers and a 23% decline in the use of Tasers among cops trained in jiu jitsu.

Syracuse Common Councilor Chol Majok, who proposed the training agreement with Tallini, said he hopes the instruction will reduce the need for lethal force.

“What we want to do, especially on my part, is to be less reliant on guns and promote mechanisms that embrace community,” Majok said.

The common council approved the agreement last week. The only point of debate centered around the location of Tallini's gym. Councilors questioned why the department was working with a jiu jitsu instructor in Baldwinsville instead of within Syracuse city limits, but Majok said there weren't any other options.

The six-month program will begin in late March. The city will look at injury and taser reporters to determine if the training actually worked.

Gabriel is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse, with an M.S. expected in the summer of 2022. Gabriel is a writer for Syracuse on SI and a proud member of the NLGJA. Follow him on Twitter at @gabe_julien.