Officer Robert Pridemore of the Cedar Creek Corrections Center is a Defensive Tactics Instructor for DOC.

Teaching defensive tactics is physically demanding work. Trainers need to both master and demonstrate the techniques. An arm bar takedown is an unpleasant experience. After two or three drops to the mat, the body can start to get sore.

It’s not only that, says Officer Robert Pridemore. The certification process for trainers is rigorous as well. “It can be pretty tough. I’m working with guys half my age,” he says. 

Pridemore, who is pursuing his Master Instructor certification which he expects to receive this November, has already spent six weeks at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien so far this year and an additional two weeks training with the DOC. 

He’s been teaching Defensive Tactics to corrections staff since 2007. He leads in-service training  and teaches at CORE at several facilities. “We focus on about seven techniques – two or three takedown techniques and the rest counter joint control,” he says.

 Becoming a Master Instructor will allow him to train others to become DT instructors as well.

When it comes to the use of force, Pridemore stresses that knowledge of policy is critical, especially for new staff. “There are a lot of laws that cover inmates’ rights,” he says. “Educating our staff is important so that we don’t open ourselves up to liability.”

In Pridemore’s view, trainers should be compensated appropriately, given their extra responsibility and stress on the body. Right now trainers get an additional $10 per hour.