Exclusive: Newark officers learn tactics to keep themselves, crowds safe

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police in Newark are undergoing new training to help them deal with intense situations during an arrest.

With escalating tensions between communities and police, it can often get out of hand. But now officers are learning how to control the crowd and remain calm.

How do officers stay within the rules of what's lawful and get the job done?

"Sometimes there is folks who are violent, who have caused harm in the community, who do not want to go back to prison and while a lot of focus over the last year has been what officers can't do, we need to make sure that they have the hands-on skills to safely take people into custody," said Newark Public Safety Director Brian O'Hara.

The department puts its officers through what is called Arrest and Control training.

"We noticed there is increasingly a gap in the skills that are needed for officers to safely take folks into custody where de-escalation fails," O'Hara said.

A lot of focus has been placed on use of force across the country.

O'Hara says the training is to make sure that officers have confidence in their hand-to-hand skills to make arrests without injury or escalation.

"Most places generally require officers to practice firing their gun twice a year at the range, and in reality, most police officers are never gonna fire their gun in the line of duty, however they have to handcuff people every day," O'Hara said. "And the vast majority, not just in Newark but everywhere, do not want to do something wrong -- they don't want to end up in some video that goes viral."

O'Hara says the training is necessary to save lives and prevent mistakes.

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