In 1986 Constable Al Arsenault began a word-wide search of the best martial art specifically suited to modern day policing needs, but could find none, although Judo was close, so he joined the VPD Judo Club already operating since the mid-1990’s. The Vancouver Police Department has hosted this Judo club at its police station, in the middle of the drug- and crime-addled Downtown Eastside (DTES). This club was started by now-retired Inspector Tim Laidler and subsequently taken over by civilian instructor Brian Shipper. Brian stepped away from the competitive model of Judo to introduce a recreational training program for students, volunteers, civilians and police. The popularity for Police Judo started growing. Brian knew that street-effective techniques of Judo were valuable for policing needs and that law enforcement training needed to be recreational in basis in order to encourage officers to adopt training.
In 2009, Al Arsenault introduced the fusion of control and arrest tactics combined with other aspects of different martial arts on to the Police Judo training and this was a turning point in the refinement of Police Judo training. Since then, a strong collective effort of seasoned law enforcement officers and talented Judo instructors have grown Police Judo into seven clubs (SFU Juniors / SFU Adults / JIBC / VPD / Kamloops / Odd Squad Women’s Judo / Ray Cam) with over 700 members. The not for profit Law Enforcement Training Association was formed in 2013 to oversee all Police Judo programs and further the development of training programs for youth and police.
Net proceeds of any training contracts through the not for profit Law Enforcement Training Association are applied to developing additional police judo programs for youth and law enforcement.