Every day a law enforcement officer walks out their front door to go to work, they put their lives on the line protecting the public from danger. An incident as seemingly simple as stopping a vehicle on a routine traffic stop could, unfortunately, be their last.
Their best defense is to not only know when and where to use force, but to have the skills to know how much or how little force needs to be used in any incident they may come upon to be the most effective during their time on duty.
“You just never know what awaits at a stop,” said Sgt. Chris Cantrell. “The adrenaline is pumping, things can heat up and you need to be in complete control at all times.”
This week officers with the Clinton Police Department were at Sampson Community College working with John A. Hawley, of Security Training Solutions. Hawley, a former law enforcement officer himself, brought his program called Fire Arm Training Simulation (FATS) to the college to help train officers in their skills during a selected situation.
The program, used with a wide screen, video and weapon, puts officers in real-life scenarios and breaks down their every move during the situation.
“You get to see how the officer reacted to the scenario,” Hawley said. “We can see the reaction time, the shots he took, the accuracy of his shots … this program breaks it all down.”
In one scenario, Cantrell stops a pickup and tells the driver to get out of the truck slowly. Before the door opens, a second passenger unexpectedly pops up from the bed of the truck and begins firing. A steady handed Cantrell quickly puts the passenger down by firing two shots and freezes the driver.
“It is like a video game, but it is something that we could face during a stop,” Cantrell said. “It not only helps you know when to shoot, but it breaks it down so that you know if you handled the situation correctly or you were just shooting to be shooting because you were surprised. It is a great way for us to train because we can get all the results and actually watch the video again to discuss what and where we could have improved on.”
Cantrell said that the days training with the program were typically days set aside for already scheduled range training.
“You know, firing on the range is also a good exercise,” he noted. “But with this it really puts you in a scenario that really teaches. You are not in a field somewhere shooting at cardboard, you are in a real-life scenario that could actually happen. We can see that from doing this, our drills on the range are paying off because of the accuracy we are seeing.”
It is the first time the Clinton Police Department has used the program, but Cantrell says they are hoping that it can be used at least once a year in the future.
“We have training four times a year,” he said. “Everyone has been very positive about what we are doing here and I really do hope that we can use one of those trainings to use this program.”
Clinton Police Chief Mike Brim agrees. “It is an excellent way to train. It really does give you a chance to deal with those things that our officers face every day.”
For more information on the FATS program, email to email@example.com.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.