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Battle Creek police to receive more than $330K in nonlethal equipment, training

Posted at 10:44 PM, Apr 19, 2022

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The Battle Creek Police Department (BCPD) is getting the approval to use more than $330,000 to focus on nonlethal equipment and training.

“Every time I send an officer out, young and old, the risk is on them and the decisions they have to take,” says Police Chief Jim Blocker, who adds they currently have 19 Tasers for their 45 officers, 16 of which were out of the warranty window.

This purchase will allow them to secure more than 57 new tasers.

Officers are also going to have another tool to add to their belts: virtual goggles to immerse them in different situations.

“Full spectrum of dealing with folks not only in, let's say, a tactical scenario but also the important ones, the ones you deal with all the time,” says Blocker, “like mental illness, or some of the challenge with an overdose or just someone that is really upset. What is the appropriate approach?”

The use of nonlethal equipment and de-escalation has regained a new focus in West Michigan following the deadly police shooting of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids on April 4. GRPD later released videos showing the traffic stop and the struggle in the moments leading up to the deadly shot being fired.

While that remains under investigation by state police, Chief Blocker says his number one priority in Battle Creek is providing his officers training to ensure everyone can go home.

“So it's my leader responsibility to make sure they have … they're immersed in every opportunity so that they can have the full breadth of creative approaches to do one thing,” says Blocker, “make sure that person goes home and make sure they go home. That's our priority. This should be all of our priority.”

This contract is for five years. The chief says this virtual reality training will have updated courses monthly. At this moment, he doesn't know when the goggles or Tasers will be delivered.

READ MORE: Forensic pathologist reveals Lyoya shot in back of head

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