Lansing, MI – Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that would require law enforcement officers to earn at least a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) or lose their jobs.
The average training time needed to obtain a blue belt in BJJ is between two and three years, according to MMA Life.
House Bill 4525, the brainchild of Representative Ryan Berman (R-District 39), would require all sworn law enforcement officers working in the state of Michigan on or before Jan. 1, 2023 to earn their blue belt by Jan. 1, 2025 in order to keep their jobs.
Officers who certified in “equivalent training” under the proposed law would also qualify.
Examples of such training would include being a licensed professional mixed martial arts fighter, wrestling for a high school varsity team, and earning a brown belt in Judo.
Current officers would be required to get themselves trained on their off-time in the event the training program wasn’t offered to them by their department on an on-duty basis. The bill only requires departments to provide 4 hours of such training per year.
The training may not even be accessible to officers in less populated areas or officers who work during times when local training classes are held.
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, any new hires would have to meet the same BJJ blue belt requirements in order to become certified as law enforcement officers in Michigan.
Berman said police are relying on outdated tactics to deal with suspects and claimed the proposed law change would bring an end to excessive force, WSYM reported.
“That stuff doesn’t really work,” the politician said, referring to the training law enforcement officers currently receive. “It doesn’t work in the field and it doesn’t work on resisting suspects.”
Berman said that if officers have a blue belt in BJJ, “then they don’t have to use excessive force. They don’t have to punch someone 15 times to submit,” WSYM reported.
Police will also feel more confident about their abilities out in the field and will be able to apprehend suspects less violently, he added.
“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,” Berman told WSYM.