Keeping LB’s Campus Safe: LBCC Public Safety Officers meet for refresher in de-escalation techniques

Adam Weaver and Sam van Teijin practice defensive strategies to keep someone safely restrained without without causing damage to either person.

Sam van Teijn was thrown face-down onto the blue mat while an attentive crowd watched.

Van Teijn and about nine of LB’s other public safety officers gathered in the Activities Center on Tuesday, April 11, at 2:30 p.m. for their monthly meeting, along with Marcene Olson, LBCC’s Director of Safety and Loss Prevention.

“Our policy is to avoid physical altercation,” said Olson, who oversaw as well as participated in the refresher.

Olson hopes that training’s like these can aid the officers whenever an altercation arises on campus.

De-escalation trainings are real-life scenarios practiced to teach officers how to “verbally [be] able to control the subject,” before situations escalate to physicality. Meetings like these help the officers “build comradery, confidence, and [teach them to] defend themselves if they have to, or somebody else,” says Olson.

This month, the two-and-a-half hour meeting consisted of the officers pairing up and practicing personal self defense and verbal de-escalation techniques as a refresher. Initially, the meeting was supposed to consist of members of the Black Curtain Society verbally screaming at the officers so they could practice non-violent de-escalation techniques. The students from BCS did not attend, but the officers wasted no time beginning their refresher training.

The meeting began promptly by forming four pairs led by LB Public Safety Officer Chris Matson. Matson dove right into showing the rest of the team a maneuver that would help them apprehend a physically violent subject. Once he went through the motions, the other officers were asked to practice on each other and mimic what he had shown them.

This went on for the remainder of the course, teaching and critiquing different maneuvers that help activate muscle memory.

“I teach what’s called a real-world self-defense,” said Matson, “I have an answer for every bad situation.”

The self-defense that Matson teaches here on campus is not just for officers on duty; he is looking to start a self defense class that will be open to administrators, as well as students.

“I always have an open door, open question policy,” said Matson. “Anybody can always come to me.”

Bernita Rose, an LBCC administrative secretary who’s been with LB for 10 years, and working in public safety for five, was also in the training.

Although she is not an officer, Rose believes that meetings like this are beneficial for her, not only as an administrator, but as a woman. “I want to be able to defend myself,” said Rose, “As a woman, you can’t be without them [self-defense training].”

Story by Samantha Guy