Police team up with UI wrestlers for training - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police team up with UI wrestlers for training

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Iowa City, University of Iowa, and Oelwein Police Departments spent a day training with members, past and present, of the University of Iowa Wrestling team.

"What better source to go to than to the University of Iowa wrestling team who are literally elite athletes and experts in controlling people," Iowa City Chief of Police, Jody Matherly, said.

Officers learned the art of the take down, how to defend themselves from leg attacks, and to sprawl from the wrestlers. The exercise aimed at helping police prepare for situations that can quickly get out of control.

"Where things are progressing very fast and we may have to go hands on and that means going into wrestling mode or fighting mode with a suspect that was maybe unpredictable and we didn't have time to wait for backup," Matherly said.

Matherly, who was once a certified-wrestling coach and is a present fan of wrestling and the team as whole, came up with the idea with the help of UIPD. He says training can get mundane for officers and this was a way to add excitement to it.

Beyond all the excitement, the training session had safety for officers and suspects in mind.

"We wanted them to plan for the unexpected so be able to take that person to the ground safely, so nobody gets hurt, and to control them for a period of time until backup arrives. You have to buy yourself time. We don't want to lose control of the situation," Matherly said.

For the wrestlers involved such as Matt McDonough, a two-time NCAA champion, it was a gratifying experience.

"They do a lot for the community that definitely goes unthanked and unappreciated so it's really nice to be able to give back to them and help them a bit," McDonough said.

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