Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Simulator Helps Police Train for Tough Scenarios

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Simulator Helps Police Train for Tough Scenarios

Article excerpt

VINCENNES, Ind. - City assistant police chief Terry Johnson, gun ready, slowly proceeds down an abandoned high school hallway. Scared students stumble out of nearby classrooms, startlingly banging into lockers, yet Johnson, still cautious, remains steady. As he rounds a corner, he sees a young man with a gun pointed at a terrified teacher's head. "Let her go!" Johnson yells. "Let her go! Drop your weapon!"

The man does as Johnson says but, in an instant, reaches for another in his back pocket. Without hesitation, Johnson fires, and the man drops to the floor.

"Got him!" Johnson says.

Of course, you didn't read about this incident in the local news, because it never happened.

Officers with the Vincennes Police Department seized an opportunity this week to train with an $80,000 piece of equipment that provides for hundreds of simulated scenarios.

Firearm specialists Josh Burns and Bryan Bible operated the program, which essentially acts as a giant video game, complete with guns, flashlights, pepper spray and even Tasers.

"There's domestic disputes, traffic stops, active shooter situations," Burns said. "In one sitting here, officers can experience all different kinds of scenarios."

The VPD leased the simulator from a Bloomington, Ind.-based company that designs and distributes various training programs for police officers. The cost is $2,500 for three days.

While that may sound expensive, the amount of ammunition it would require to run some of these training exercises in the field would beat it by a long shot, police said.

"With this, officers can run through 10,000 rounds and it doesn't cost a thing," Bible explained.

The technology offers up a whole new world of training. Currently, Vincennesarea police conduct shooting exercises at Wabash Valley Sportsman's Club, and on the rare occasion they can secure an abandoned home before it's torn down, they can switch it up just a little. …

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