POLICE Magazine

MAR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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32 POLICE MARCH 2019 J Law enforcement training simu- lators have evolved in the last decade to feature multiple screens for a more immersive experience, 4K HD video for more visual realism, and a variety of sophisticated firearm replicas that feel like and even behave like real guns. is has given agencies that use these tools an opportunity for very high-end train- ing. But leading subject matter experts at some of the nation's largest makers of computer-based training simulators say the component that is critical to achieving real value from their prod- ucts is not the machine, it's the person running the training. Experts say that far too often they still see examples of agencies that are using their sims to evaluate their officers' performance rather than train them. Robert McCue, general manager of MILO Range Training Systems, says the reason that so many agencies haven't changed their mindset about simulator training is they don't understand the power of the latest systems. "Older sim- ulators used to just test your ability to do certain tasks. ese can actually teach you how to do certain things properly," he explains. And he is quick to add that the key to achieving that training value is a qualified instructor who knows how to get the most out of the training. "You can have a not so good simulator system and a great instructor and get a lot more out of the training than if you have a great system and a poor instructor," he says. Good simulator instructors need to know the machine they are running. But that's just the bare minimum of knowledge they should bring to the stu- dents. ey also need to know the agen- cy policy, the law, and law enforcement methodology and tactics. PREP WORK Knowing the machine and the scenar- io being worked is extremely important to the process, says Nathan Friddle, a Meggitt (FATS) law enforcement sales representative and veteran law enforce- ment trainer. "If the instructor is not prepared, obviously the student will not get the greatest value from the time they are spending," Friddle says. Friddle believes one of the goals of the well-prepared simulator instructor is to provide a training environment where the student can suspend disbelief and be immersed in the scenario. He says it's very important for instructors to have intimate knowledge of the scenar- ios they are using so that the branching will be as seamless as possible. "If the officer I am training is waiting for me to make a move with the simulator, that obviously takes the officer out of the im- mersive environment of the simulator." To make the training more real, Friddle recommends that instructors include real-world elements in the sim- ulator environment. He gives the fol- lowing examples: have a CPR dummy so the officer can secure the suspect and render aid after a shooting, have the officer virtually wounded in the sce- nario and need to put a tourniquet on an injured limb, have the officer make simulated radio calls from the scene, and even bring in role players for hand- cuffing. THE DEBRIEF A qualified and knowledgeable instruc- tor is essential to the actual working of the scenario, but his or her most critical role is the debrief of the student after the scenario. "e instructor's job is to use PHOTO: MILO R ANGE THE HUMAN FACTOR It's the instructor's job to do more than just watch the student perform and issue a grade. MILO Range provides tools to help them educate students in law, policy, and tactics. The most important element in simulator training is a qualified and knowledgeable instructor. DAVID GRIFFITH

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