As officer-involved shootings dominate headlines across the nation, one of the most important skills police academies teach is responsible use of force. Law enforcement officers are faced with tough decisions on how to best respond to threats and protect the well-being of the public in a responsible way.
The Texas Municipal Police Association provided training to the Navarro College Police Academy last week, with those goals in mind.
TMPA set up a force options simulator which uses judgmental training software to test a cadet's command presence and verbal dialogue skills at the scene. The system is used to train officers with various force options such as pepper spray, Taser and firearms.
“I always enjoy getting to provide this type of training to academy students and officers,” Bryan Flatt, TMPA Training Coodinator said. “It helps shed some light on just how quickly a situation can escalate and how fast an officer must make a split second decision on what to do. Whatever force option is chosen it must be a reasonable choice.”
The first thing they look for when an officer participates in the training is the officer’s ability to display command presence and verbal dialogue at a scene. The trainer is able to choose whether a suspect engages the officer with a weapon, gives up, or possibly even just produces a cell phone toward the officer.
"The firearms simulator provided cadets with the opportunity to face real life situations requiring immediate decisions,” Rick White, Navarro College Police Academy Coordinator said. “This type of training is critical to developing judgment and reactionary skills when facing like conditions as they embark on their career."
The necessity for this type of training on a regular basis is understood by law enforcement executives. Sheriff Elmer Tanner, Corsicana Police Chief Randy Bratton and the Navarro College Police Academy are exploring the possibilities cooperatively on how a simulator could be available on a full time basis in Navarro County for area law enforcement officers.