Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

June 13, 2013

Virtual vehicles - simulators provide valuable training

Corsicana — It’s like “Sim City” meets “Grand Theft Auto” in video game terms.

And, in real-life terms, it’s some valuable training and experience for deputies, dispatchers and others in Navarro County.

Sheriff Elmer Tanner worked with the Texas Association of Counties to obtain the use of a special driving simulator to utilize for special training for sheriff’s office employees as well as other county departments.

The trainer — self contained in a trailer set up in the county parking lot — has been kept busy the last couple of weeks, as county employees take part in a classroom course covering all elements of driving, followed by a whirl in the “virtual reality trainer.”

The simulator creates real-world driving conditions in a “high-tech” environment that simulates situations drivers may actually encounter while on the road.

There are special simulations created for law enforcement officers, including high-speed pursuits with a variety of real-world scenarios built in — cross-street traffic, passing vehicles, pedestrians and distractions — designed to test the officer’s skills and reactions. Different weather condition scenarios can be introduced into the simulator as well, such as rain, wind, dust storms, fog and even snow.

“Safety is the biggest thing,” said Don Courtney, simulator training specialist, who’s running the training in Navarro County. “If we can help avoid any accidents at all then that’s where it’s at. It saves tax dollars, and saves the county money in that regard.”

The driving simulator training is one of several steps Tanner has made since taking office to enhance the sheriff’s department.

“We’re always taking a pro-active approach to training our officers and offering them all the opportunities that are available to upgrade our agency,” Tanner said.

The sheriff said he thinks the training is “vital” to the agency.

“It benefits everyone within our agency, because I’ve required every officer to participate in this,” he said. “It gives them different aspects from the simulator ... everybody in the agency having a little piece of what it would be like to be a patrolman, be in a pursuit, or just normal, everyday driving.”

Navarro County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Connie Hickman is the current president of the Texas Association of Counties. She commended Tanner for his initiative to arrange for the simulator training.

“The association is all about helping counties better serve their citizens,” Hickman said. “This is one of the resources we have to help,” she added, one that adds no financial impact to the counties taking part in the program.

The program, launched in 2000, has served thousands of drivers in three-quarters of the state’s counties, according to information from TAC.

“The simulator training reinforces good driving habits that help improve employee safety, and makes them better prepared for the unexpected,” Courtney said.

Tanner said he is committed to offering whatever training opportunities he can for the benefit of the department and the public.

“We certainly want take every opportunity we can to give our officers more training and education in any field we might encounter as we serve the citizens of this county.”


Bob Belcher may be reached by email at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:


Text Only
Latest News
  • Poll: Americans cool to border-crossing children

    SAN DIEGO — Americans are wary of granting refugee status to children crossing the U.S. border to flee strife-torn countries in Central America, and most in an Associated Press-GfK poll say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to accept asylum seekers generally.

    July 30, 2014

  • 7-30-14 4-H robotics.jpg Science made simple

    Hats out of old newspaper and leftover wrapping paper, simple robots out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencil erasers, a microcosm of the aquifer made of root beer and ice cream — with a dollop of chocolate syrup. These were among the fun science projects at Tuesday’s 4-H Discovery Days event at the Navarro County Youth Expo.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • County: No increase in city subsidies

    As budget talks continue at the Navarro County Courthouse, one consensus that’s been reached will impact budget planning at the Corsicana Government Center.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30-14 AthensFire.jpg Senate report finds fault with government inspection of chemical facilities

    WASHINGTON — The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at a higher risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Club-Rotary gov.jpg Club News

    News and announcements submitted by clubs and organizations throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat 7/30/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A jury has awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

    July 29, 2014

  • Texas school trustee penalized in cheerleader case

    SAN MARCOS — A Central Texas school board has ordered a trustee to attended professional conduct training after parents and teachers said he used his position to get his daughter onto a cheerleading team.

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    WASHINGTON — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29-14 Lassiter.jpg Lassiter named new Calico director

    Brittany Watkins-Lassiter has been named the new Calico Director for Corsicana High School. Lassiter replaces Amy Tidwell, who resigned to become the dance squad coach at Sachse High School.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo