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Police department's new simulator can train for real-life situations

Saturday, August 8, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 7:32 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 8, 2009

COLUMBIA — A new firearms simulator at the Columbia Police Department allows officers to face myriad of real-life situations while training.

"In its simplest form, it's kind of an interactive video game," Sgt. John Worden said.

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Officers are faced with a situation, such as a domestic violence dispute, and instructors manipulate the simulation to train officers in different situations. In a domestic violence simulation, the instructor has the option of making the people involved comply with the officer, run at the officer or ignore the officer, among other situations, Worden said.

"Instead of resetting the whole scenario, the scenario can change with the push of a button," Worden said.

The simulator also allows for different attachments, such as fake weapons similar to those the department uses. The department has already trained four officers, who are now certified instructors, a news release from the department stated.

AIS/PRISim, the Seattle-based company that made the simulator, sent one of its instructors to train the Police Department's instructors, who were all already police department employees, Worden said.

The total cost for the simulator was about $42,000. The department raised $40,000 through an auction fundraiser in September 2008, and the Columbia Police Foundation provided the additional funding, the release stated.

About half of the department has received an introduction to the simulator, and Worden said the department hopes to have everyone trained once it's set up in the department's new training facility.

The department has also offered use of the simulator to the Boone County Sheriff's Department and the MU Police Department.

"This is just another training tool that can put the officers in as close to a real-life situation as they possibly can," Worden said.


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