CantonRep.com staff writerPosted Mar. 6, 2015 at 11:06 PM
JACKSON TWP.Canton police were trying to calm their suspects before opening fire.Despite the pained expressions on their suspects’ faces, the doubling over and the falling to the ground, no one really was hurt and none of the officers had to be disciplined.Canton police were using simulated shooting scenarios on an interactive screen at Virtual Marksman, 6845 Whipple Ave. NW. Located inside the AC Motors building, the company uses laser technology for shooting practice.City police are taking advantage of the company’s affordable price to practice use-of-force and other confrontation scenarios as officer-involved shootings in other cities face increased scrutiny nationwide.“I know it’s hard to talk to the screen, but talk to him a little ... like you’d talk to him on the street,” Lt. Greg Boudreaux encouraged Patrolman Steve Silver during a domestic-violence scenario on the screen.The suspect in the scenario was talking. Tension obviously was high and the man could’ve been dangerous. Silva had to determine if he should pull the trigger in order to save his own life.“If you perceive a threat, yell at them if you have to,” the lieutenant said. “A lot of these scenarios are deadly force scenarios.”
In another scenario, a bartender has just called to report a disgruntled employee who is “acting strange.” Again, the officer has to determine whether and when to shoot.Boudreaux and training Officer Eric Stanbro set up the scenarios, monitoring each officer’s responses and providing feedback so that, if an officer runs into a similar situation in real life, the officer can react appropriately.“If they don’t fire the shot, then don’t react,” Stanbro advised in one scenario.Each shot that strikes the suspect on the screen results in a “reaction” on-screen via the state-of-the-art technology. The “suspect” reacts with facial expressions and falls.School shootings, domestic violence incidents, disgruntled employees and anything else an officer could encounter flashes — life-sized — onto the screen in an otherwise dark room.Terry Verble, owner of Virtual Marksman and the AC Motors business in which it is located, pointed out that there is no real danger.“There’s no live fire here at all. It’s just a CO2 cartridge,” he said.He explained: “The CO2 cartridge fits in the magazine. The CO2 causes the gun to recoil when the trigger’s pulled, which fires the laser shot at the screen. The hit detection camera picks up that last shot and it registers as a gunshot on the screen.”Officers also brought in their police dogs.“It’s a safe environment for them to see how the dogs react to the gunfire in a chaotic environment,” Verble said.
Boudreaux said every Canton police officer will undergo the training at Virtual Marksman, adding that the training has just begun.While the business enables the general public can use the facility at $50 an hour. The rate for the city police department is $40 an hour.Boudreaux said the city is using it two hours per week with seven to 10 scenarios per officer and a total of 15 to 20 officers per class. The entire training is expected to last 10 weeks, training that Boudreaux said is “well worth it.”“This simulated firearms training exposes our officers to realistic scenarios... to see how they are going to react. These are real-life scenarios,” Boudreaux said. “We’re looking for (the officers’) reactions and how they would respond, if they make fatal flaws, such as shooting innocent people. Anything you see on the street, we want to see here.”This isn’t the first simulator the officers have used. City police have used another mobile simulator for shooting and driving a police cruiser.“This (simulator) is more up-to-date and has many more scenarios,” Boudreaux said, watching the next officer “address” two men in a sport utility vehicle.The officer ends up shooting one of the men who pulls out something that could be a gun.“Why did you pull your gun?” Boudreaux asked him. “He just pulled out a camera. Not every scenario is going to be a shooting.”Boudreaux said the simulator is a training tool the department hopes to use more in the future.And the officers seem to appreciate the opportunity to practice.“This is good,” Silver said. “I like this.”Source: http://www.cantonrep.com/article/20150306/News/150309492