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In the News

CAPCOG’s Use-of-Force Simulator: a timely training tool

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

CAPCOG Use-of-Force Simulator
CAPCOG's mobile Use-of-Force Simulator helps law enforcement prepare for situations such as active-shooter threats.

With recent mass shootings nationwide putting the spotlight on prevention, preparedness, protection and response, ongoing professional training for peace officers holds a crucial role in helping law enforcement keep communities safe.

For 18 years and counting, the Capital Area Council of Governments Regional Law Enforcement Academy has been training new and veteran police officers in using force and responding to emergency situations. A key tool? CAPCOG’s Use-of-Force Simulator, which provides active-shooter training to law enforcement agencies and police cadets.

> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy

The simulator, an integrated system using software, a video screen and hundreds of potential incident scenarios, provides a realistic use-of-force training that helps participants develop the skills required for law enforcement personnel armed with both lethal and less-lethal weapons. Scenario content sets include various potential outcomes relevant to patrol; tactical matters; corrections; airport, school or military situations; drug enforcement; security; and active-shooter incidents. The simulator’s mobility — it’s contained in a wheeled trailer — allows for use at permanent facilities or off-site locations.

A typical training session lasts about 45 minutes. To begin, the simulator operator first refreshes the officer or cadet on use-of-force issues and departmental policy. The student then receives a weapon similar to what he or she carries while on duty. The simulator weapon does not fire live rounds but produces the same sound and recoil of a live weapon upon discharge.

> Learn more about RLEA cadet training

The officer or cadet is then shown a video scenario during which the student must ask questions, give commands and ultimately decide the amount of force needed to resolve the situation. Depending on the student’s questions or commands, the simulator operator is able to escalate or deescalate the scenario with the onboard computer system.

Once the session ends, the instructor and student review it using video replay.

> Get the current lineup of continuing-education classes for peace officers

Participants can expect all the hard realities of a real encounter. Judgment calls, indecision, sudden fear, partial understanding, blind-side surprise, eye-blink response, physical and psychological responses and life or death choices all contribute to the training experience that conditions the officer or cadet for survival.

The simulator features exceptionally realistic video and environments for all aspects of firearms handling, including marksmanship, tactical strategies, observation skills, scene assessments, interactive dialogue, problem-solving and decisionmaking. The tool provides for practice of high-stress, highliability incidents that can be more costly or difficult to recreate by conventional methods.

In operation locally since August 2010, the simulator has visited every county that CAPCOG serves. Personnel trained on the simulator report that it has helped them during critical incidents such as an officer-involved shooting. One local officer reported that the training helped prepare him to save not only his life but other officers during a recent such incident.

> Contact RLEA Director Mike Jennings today to schedule the simulator

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