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Police simulators help train officers

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 6:29 PM EDT
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For police officers, life or death decisions are part of the job. To prepare them for those situations, the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center has a new tool to help them train.

"They have gang activity where deadly force is out there. We have active shooter situations. We have a lot of situations where deadly force is being forced on officers, and we're trying to give them options," said Don Green, Executive Director of UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center.

Tennessee's first 300 degree, virtual firearm simulator projects reality of what officers could face on the streets.

It's all about de-escalating the situation. The scenes the officers go through in the middle of the five screens could develop into a situation where the officer has to draw or shoot his weapon or it could de-escalate with the person surrendering peacefully.

There are over 140 scenarios with over 400 branching options. The guns used in the simulator are live firearms. The parts have been interchanged out with gas cartridges and laser devices that allow the screens to resist the shots.

"It's really important any time officers train to have the most realistic situation they can, so the weight, the feel, the recole, that's produced by the way these work lets the officer get a better training experience," said Greg Coker, Training Coordinator UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center.