Police recruit’s death sparks changes

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The death of a recruit sparks changes at the Oklahoma City police academy.

Kelley Chase, 38, fell and hit his head during a training exercise last Friday.

The 15-year Air Force veteran died the next day.

The chief of police characterizes the injury as a freak accident suffered during routine training but the chief did admit there will be changes in the way recruits are trained in the future.

"It wasn't a violent or aggressive move but he did go back and hit his head on the mat," OKC Police Chief Bill Citty said.

After recruit Chase hit his head during training last week, he tried to stand up but couldn't.

Nurses on scene quickly transported him to the hospital where he later died.

All the training sessions are recorded.

Chief Citty has reviewed the video of Chase's fall and said his trainers did nothing wrong.

"It appears the training was appropriate and the move was appropriate," Citty said. "We've been doing it for 11 years."

While the case is investigated, the chief said additional safety steps, including having recruits wear protective head gear, will be implemented immediately.

"We won't do any more training without helmets," he said. "We need to do everything we can to protect these recruits. We just have to."

The chief said they are offering counseling services to the recruits and staff.

He said he does not expect any criminal charges to arise from the death.

Kelley Chase leaves behind a wife and two young children.