ORLANDO -- Simulators are well known in aviation and the military, where they've been used for decades. They've been around almost as long in law enforcement, walking officers through deadly force scenarios. Now they're getting enhanced technically and otherwise, to deal with new requirements and new levels of scrutiny for officers' actions.
This week (Dec. 2-6), experts in the armed services and law enforcement are getting together for their annual conference in Orlando, I/ITSEC. One exhibitor, Meggitt Training Systems, is showing off the latest entries in its FATS (firearms training) series. The FATS 300 can display video on five screens with surround sound, or through a virtual reality (VR) setup including goggles. The systems include firearms simulators that go beyond the laser setups of years past, reacing and feeling like real weapons, down to the degree of recoil.
Eric Perez, a virtual trainer for Meggitt, says they're being asked to develop new scenarios in training. In one of their dramatizations, an officer is dealing with one individual while another tells him he's recording him on video and a third opens fire. Potential training scenarios include situations such as mass shootings. Perez says they're moving beyond the traditional "shoot - don't shoot" situations and offering demonstrations on de-escalation techniques, as well as alternatives to firearms such as tasers and batons.
Perez says training in talking down a situation is important since many younger recruits are coming to law enforcement without a lot of socialization.
Photo Credit: Meggitt Training Systems