LaserShot simulation trains police recruits for firearm situations
By Aaron Bracamontes / El Paso Timeselpasotimes.com
Posted: 11/04/2011 02:08:22 PM MDT
The El Paso Police Department is using the latest in video simulation technology to train its future officers in real-life firearm situations. The department demonstrated the Lasershot program Friday at the Police Academy.
The new program replaced the old simulator called Firearms Training System, or FATS, about a year ago. The current Police Academy class is the first group to use the Lasershot program, bought for about $150,000.
Sgt. Glen Shelly said the old system used by the police was restricted by its settings and situations. For the new system, the Police Department used El Paso settings and scenarios and used officers as actors.
"It gives officer an idea of how dynamic things can be in the field," Shelly said. "All the scenarios the officers will see are from El Paso situations."
Scenarios can be as simple as a difficult patient at a hospital or as complicated as a school shooting with multiple assailants.
Training officer Allen Edington said the training helps officers determine when certain weapons and methods are appropriate. It also gives the officer multiple reactions, depending on the action taken.
"We have all these different options that we never had before," Edington said. "And we can go mobile to the officers for training." The program hooks up to a laptop and projector, while the old FATS system was restricted to the place it was installed.
The simulator can track one to six shooters using four handguns, one assault rifle and one shotgun. It also registers Taser use.The weapons discharge a laser to simulate a shot. Officers can also practice teamwork and verbal commands with the simulation.
"They see it, they say it, and they do it," Edington said. "It's decision-making and target practice."
Most of the officers using Lasershot to practice are toward the end of their training at the academy, Edington said. Part of the academy will require officers to go through 10 to 15 hours of simulator training. Officers go through regular situations, where they are purely reacting to the situations based on their training, and flash situations, where the course of action is pre-planned such as a SWAT team."At this point the academics are taught to them," Edington said. "Now they are using them in simulated situations."
Aaron Bracamontes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 546-6156
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