Among the many words Police Chief John Diaz used during today's press conference held in the wake of the John Williams shooting were two that stood out: "verbal judo." The overhaul of Diaz's department -- including the reshuffling of nine top commanders -- is what's leading the news right now. But those two words were just too weird not to get noticed. Especially when Diaz said that he and other veterans of the department had been trained in verbal judo, a training he hoped to offer up to the other officers in his command.
Verbal judo is the work of one man: George "Doc Rhino" Thompson, an intimidatingly built ex-English professor turned cop who has counseled departments all over the country on the skill of defusing conflicts with words. In light of the Williams shooting and other high-profile incidents, there seems to be a near universal opinion that "deescalation" training is a necessity for the Seattle police force.
In this video, watch as Doc Rhino explains how he first stumbled on to his technique while disciplining his son.
And if next year's budget is really as bad as it looks, and Diaz still wants his officers trained, maybe he should just look online: the whole verbal judo philosophy seems to be available on YouTube.