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Virtual training system features cutting-edge training for law enforcement

by Josiah Thomas, News Editor
Image courtesy of Schoolcraft College

Say hello to the new generation of law enforcement training.

The Fire Arms Training Center (FTC) has just put in a new, highly-realistic and thorough training program for trainees like no other before it. Being one of only a few in the entire U.S. and the first in the Midwest, the Fire Arms Training Simulator (F.A.T.S.) training runs the gamut of scenarios ranging from on-foot pursuit of suspects, transferring dangerous inmates in a prison, active shooters in a work or school environment and smaller de-escalation scenarios to prevent heated arguments from turning into deadly situations.

This new training simulator offers a 300° realistic training experience in which multiple distractions such as dogs barking and onlookers can be introduced into the scenario. This is done to improve the decision-making skills and judgement of all recruits in what Associate Dean-Public Safety Programs, Jerry Champagne, calls “a multi-tasking target-focus shooting environment” in which recruits are placed into “realistic scenarios involving decision-making skills with escalation and de-escalation use of force decisions that may or may not require the use of fatal force.”

The skills trainees are required to use includes verbal commands to control the situation and de-escalate confrontational altercations when the use of force may not be required. With this training provided by the Public Safety Training Complex programs, trainees have the opportunity to learn the skills in an academic classroom setting, then apply what they’ve learned to a realistic, hands-on experience.

“Any mistakes made by the trainees during the practical training experiences can be immediately corrected before the trainee applies the skills in an actual on-the-job experience,” Champagne assures.

This new training simulator is a great leap forward.

The previous simulator consisted of a single, one-dimensional video screen based on 20-year-old technology similar to that of a VHS system. The new one is operated from newer high definition technology presented on a five-screen system that lets users simultaneously interact with multiple adversaries and distractions during the decision-making process involving the use of force.

Actions involving the use of force by law enforcement officers are often analyzed and criticized in the media and by citizens after said events took place. For the legitimacy and professionalism of police agencies, it’s important that recruits and established officers get regular professional development training to enhance both their decision-making skills to improve their professional response.

The simulator was developed by Meggitt Inc., a company that has worked with Schoolcraft before. Having developed the original fire arms simulator that served the College for over 20 years, Meggitt has stood behind their equipment when warranty repairs were needed in the past. They’ve also made systems utilized by federal agencies throughout the country, making Meggitt a natural pick when the Public Safety program conducted their research for the replacement equipment.

This leaves trainers and recruits with consistent updates to the training needed to serve the community. Of these developments Champagne says, “I am excited to be able to provide the high-level use of force decision making training with the new system to enhance the professionalism and safety of police officers and the communities served by the officers.”

The primary reason why the Fire Arms Training Center is so highly sought after by law enforcement trainers and recruits across the country is because its programs are served by the professional trainers involved in the curriculum and development of the students/trainees.

“We utilize top professional trainers who are high-achieving practitioners as well as accomplished in academic instruction,” said Champagne. “The trainers have a combined total of over 400 years of experience ranging from small organizations to large organizations on the local, state and federal levels.”

The Fire Arms Training Complex serves the training needs of law enforcement personnel from many branches of law enforcement and private security agencies at the local, state and federal level.

Having a new virtual training simulator provides an opportunity for multiple agencies across the country to enhance their fire arms training at a centralized location in the Metro-Detroit area while participating in other training activities like driving and defensive tactics offered at the same location.