DOUGLAS (AP) — The stakes were clear when the two dozen police officers gathered for a four-day workshop that came into being with an ambitious and increasingly urgent mission: To change the face of police work in America.

The class took place the same week as jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer who was convicted in the death of George Floyd.

No one attending the conference would deny that policing failed the day Floyd died.

They came to the classes with the idea that judo, the Olympic martial art with a deep global history but shallow roots in the United States, might be able to help fix it.

The main concept over the week of classes held at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy centered on teaching cops how to engage suspects verbally, then employ physical judo techniques if needed, to deescalate confrontations without using deadly force.

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