Spanish Fort police officers hone their skills with high-tech training simulator | Baldwin County Alabama News
Spanish Fort Police have spent the last week undergoing specialized training to prepare their officers for anything thrown at them.
The Firearms Training System (FATS) has been around for over a decade, but it is regularly reprogrammed with updated training scenarios. The simulated training exercise places officers in real-life scenarios that can be manipulated and modified on the fly. They are armed with a handgun and a taser that are as realistic as possible.
“Back up. Mom, I need you to step back now!” Officer Meredith Killian shouted from the video wall screen.
Killian’s first sim set her at the scene of a trouble where she finds a woman acting erratically and threatening others with a knife. After forcing onlookers to walk away, Killian is forced to use her taser when the suspect wouldn’t let go of her knife and is moving aggressively towards her.
His gun instructors and leader watched Killian do the drill. The immediate feedback she receives from them is an important part of the training process.
“It’s a learning process,” Killian said. “For example, one person might react one way and another in a different way and so when you listen to how each person can handle a situation, it makes you think, okay, maybe you’re right. . I have to handle it that way, or I should have done it right now. “
Killian’s next storyline was tough. Three students were being held at the tip of a knife in a school library. With the lives of the students at risk, Killian drew his handgun and attempted to defuse the situation. This time, she was forced to act. In this case, a college girl was stabbed before she could take out the villain. It’s unfortunate but about as real as it gets, and it happened very quickly.
“Good, and then the fear of whether you’re making the right decision or the wrong decision,” Killian said. “You are in this situation and so much is going through your mind.”
Spanish Fort Police Chief John Barber said that was the purpose of the training. This allows officers to feel the emotions and adrenaline rush of having to make decisions in a split second. He said managing stress while answering calls can make all the difference in the bottom line.
“It’s a little stressful. You have your peers and sometimes I’m here, so your boss is here to watch you, but our job is stressful. Our job puts us in tough situations, so it’s a stressful thing. good thing. You want them. a little stressed out when you come here, feel that tension and make them react, “explained Barber.
Barber requested the training simulator months ago because he saw how effective it can be thanks to his time with the Mobile Police Department, which has its own FATS. He said it’s just coincidence that this training is taking place at the same time the nation is focused on another death where the actions of a police officer are called into question.
“It’s something we even thought about long before this incident that happened a week ago,” Barber said. “We have to constantly strive to push our officers to do better and therefore, with things happening nationally, all we can do.
From domestic unrest to hostage-taking, Barber hopes the training will refine the decision-making process of his officers.
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