Local News

Video Simulations Train Troopers for Violent Encounters

Posted July 22, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A domestic violence victim's first line of defense often lies in the hands of a police officer. Officers spend a good deal of time calming outbursts between husbands and wives or girlfriends and boyfriends. These situations often put the police in extreme danger, but there are steps they take to prepare and protect themselves.

One branch of law enforcement, the Highway Patrol, uses a new form of training to prepare their officers for real life situations. In January, troopers started using video simulations to sharpen their skills and improve their judgment.

The video puts the troopers face to face with someone carrying a weapon during a life threatening confrontation. For many troopers, the video simulation is the ultimate training. It's the one thing they've trained for that they hope they'll never have to use.

When the time comes, state troopers hope they'll be prepared. They spend hours on the firing range practicing their marksmanship. But,the most important training happens inside. There, troopers come face to face with real life confrontations all through a video screen.

Lieutenant Fletcher Clay says drills include some from outside, some from inside vehicles, traffic stops and some domestics. This way troopers can have a feeling of what it's like to be in different situations.

The simulation shows where the shots where fired, if and where a person was hit and whether the officer made a good decision. Troopers take a risk never knowing who the person that they are approaching is. It may be an honest citizen, or it may be a person that has committed some criminal act.

That is the most dangerous part of the job. This preparation and training becomes a key element in the troopers' survival.

Clay says the Highway Patrol's objective is to provide troopers with training that will prepare them for almost anything they may encounter.