Brian Bonifas Brings Law Enforcement Jiu-Jitsu Training to FRF
Our newest addition to the First Responders Foundation, Brian Bonifas, brings a unique approach to fulfilling our mission, “To serve and honor all our First Responders, Veterans, and their families, build appreciation and respect for their work and enhance public safety.” Brian is teaching Law Enforcement Jiu-Jitsu Training with the goal of keeping officers safe and providing non-violent control options during arrest situations in the greater Omaha area.
Law Enforcement Jiu-Jitsu Training
Brian has been a metro area Police Officer since 2009 and currently serves at the Metro Community College Police Department. He has instructor certifications from the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, ALICE (Active Shooter Response Training), 88 Tactical, and Gracie University. Gracie University teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) a form of martial arts that started in 1925 in Brazil and has origins in Japanese Jiujitsu and Judo.
Brian and his department have hosted two instructor-level courses of Gracie Survival Tactics, a BJJ-based arrest, and a survival system for Police Officers. A third is coming up in December, through a relationship with Gracie University in Torrance, CA. Over 120 Police Instructors have attended the two Omaha GST Instructor courses.
Brian shares, “One of the biggest challenges facing the street officer right now is lack of access to regular effective arrest, control, and survival training. Most Police Departments only offer 4-8 hours annually of hand-to-hand arrest training. To be effective and in control while using force, it would be ideal if Police Officers could be trained for 1 hour each week. BJJ offers a unique de-escalators set of skills; in stark contrast to the “plus 1” theory of force where strikes and intermediary weapons are often taught as a response to resistance first. In the context of BJJ, an officer can gain control and tire out the suspect while waiting for backup. Worst-case scenario strikes and other weapons are still on the table. It’s a true de-escalation tool for officers.”
Even with Departments that have adopted Gracie Survival Tactics or similar programs, the problem of training time and limited budgets still exist.
The cost to supply each officer with an hour of training a week, plus the instructor cadre necessary is often too high to be realistic for Departments with already strained budgets. This is where the First Responders Foundation is here to step in and help out local area Law Enforcement. Brian has been trained by Gracie University and this pilot program offers 3 days a week of Police specific BJJ training at no cost to the officer.
The lesson plan is certified in several states, and several local law enforcement command staff have approved the training for their departments. Officers can track their progress with a set curriculum that can be reported back to their training department for continuing education credit. All classes are taught in a safe and controlled manner so police administrations and officers do not need to worry about the risk of injury that can sometimes happen during defensive tactics training and in combat sports.
A similar partnership was established in Marietta Georgia, with the outstanding results as follows:
On April 1, 2019, Marietta, GA Police Department (MPD) instituted a training program that made weekly BJJ training mandatory for all new hires during the five months they were in the police academy. The training took place at a carefully vetted civilian-owned/operated BJJ academy within the community. The program was so successful that on July 1, 2020, Marietta PD extended the department-sponsored BJJ training opportunity to all in-service officers.
Marietta Police Department BJJ Program Data
- To date, 95 of the 145 sworn MPD officers have opted into the BJJ program and 50 officers have not. The officers who averaged at least (1) BJJ class per week, are referred to as “BJJ officers.” Here is a summary of the data collected thus far:
- MPD has had 95 officers attend over 2,600 civilian-operated BJJ classes with one (1) reported training injury.
- Since the inception of the program, non-BJJ officers used their Taser in 77% of Use of Force (UOF) incidents.
- BJJ officers used their Taser in 54% of UOF incidents (85% of which were used to stop a foot pursuit – not to end the physical altercation)
- 23% reduction in Taser deployments in the BJJ officer group.
UOF (Use of Force) Injuries to Officers:
- In the 18 months prior to instituting mandatory BJJ training, 29 officers were injured while carrying out arrests.
- In the 18 months after instituting mandatory BJJ training for new hires, 15 officers were injured while carrying out arrests.
- 48% reduction in officer injuries department-wide.
- None of the injured officers were BJJ officers.
UOF Injuries to Suspects:
- In 2020, there were 33 UOF incidents involving Marietta PD officers: 20 incidents involving non-BJJ officers, and 13 incidents involving BJJ officers.
- In the 20 incidents involving non-BJJ officers, the suspect sustained injuries requiring hospitalization 65% of the time (13 incidents of suspect hospitalization).
- The 13 incidents involving BJJ officers, the suspect sustained injuries requiring hospitalization 31% of the time (4 incidents of suspect hospitalization).
- Serious injuries to a suspect are 53% less likely when interacting with BJJ officers.
- BJJ officers are 59% less likely to engage in UOF than non-BJJ officers.
- Based on an average workers’ comp claim of $4,768, the total estimated savings from the reduction in officers’ injuries is estimated at $66,752.
- Training Investment: $26,000 (2600 department-sponsored classes charged at $10 per class).
- Net Savings for MPD: $40,752
First Responders Foundation in Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA
The First Responders Foundation is proud to offer these classes with a goal to have an outcome as successful as Marietta’s Police Department. To contact Brian email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402-319-1101.
Brian offers classes:
Monday’s at 5:00-6:00am
Wednesday’s from 7:15-8:15pm
Every Other Saturday from 12:00 Noon – 1:00pm
For more information on the schedule and other Physical Health classes offered click here: