February 6, 2013
From school shootings to traffic stops, our local officers are preparing for the most dangerous situations in a very unique way.
The Police Training Academy at Mercyhurst North East held a training program Wednesday night.
The training exercise puts officers in a virtual line of fire.
A computer simulated program generates possible dangerous scenarios and allows the officer to shout commands at a virtual suspect.
The interactive scenario looks almost like a video game on a big screen, but it's far from being a game.
It gauges officer reaction time when it comes to potentially deadly situations.
The officers use a laser simulation of pepper spray, a taser, or various guns, like glock 17 replicas.
Based on department protocol and personal perception of danger, they try to identify the suspect, talk the suspect down and make a split second decision as to whether or not to physically react to a suspect. Then they have to explain their reasoning for their reaction, in front of their captain and peers.
The program is such a great resource for our local officers because it allows real-time laser firing.
The sworn officers invloved in the training are also school resource officers.
Some of the different scenarios include traffic stops, office buildings danger, and possible school shooter situations.
A similar program is in the works for civilians to teach people to handle situations as they escalate.
This first round of officers is testing out the class and theyll give feedback to improve the program for future classes.