Updated: Friday, 06 Aug 2010, 9:59 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 06 Aug 2010, 7:58 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Future Austin police officers are getting new training in the department's use-of-force policy and veteran officers have gone through refresher courses after a string of controversial police shootings and arrests.
After a Department of Justice review was critical of APD use-of-force policy, 1,600 officers have gone through new training on use-of-force in the last two years. The APD also requires officers to repeat a refresher course once every year.
Officers are also required to participate in annual training on the use of tasers.
"Anytime you go hands on with somebody, it's an altercation and there's a potential for both people to get hurt," said Senior Patrol Officer Mark Hoffman. Hoffman encourages cadets to be stunned with a taser.
"I think its very important to be exposed to it," he said. "You need to understand how it operates and what it can do to you if its taken from you."
Hoffman said since officers began using tasers, 84% fewer people are injured during struggles with police. Injuries to officers are down by more than half.
This week, a class of new cadets was trained how to use batons and tasers. The cadets in the class have all had prior law enforcement training, but APD also requires them to go through training specific to the department.
Those officers will be patrolling the streets by January 2011.