Police face the line of fire every day. But when it comes to recruits and rookies from the police academy, grasping use of force confrontations can often be difficult. Newer officers may enter into a situation where they have little information as to the venue and dynamics of a situation that is changing and can turn in seconds. Throughout the encounter, they must also adhere to federal law, state law, and department protocol.
Preparing for split second decisions is never easy, but training can help. Read on to find out more about how to prepare for situations where an officer might have to make a critical decision.
Training systems have been designed to help address these pressures. Officers can learn through realistic and interactive virtual scenarios so that they can train and prepare for the unexpected. This type of reality based training can help officers not only get better practice at responding to scenarios but help get acclimated to the pressures of the field. These events are designed to help officers have experience with scenarios that they would have to otherwise get in the field.
The public perception of officers as monsters who draw their guns is also a misperception. Officers that shoot, even if their shot is not fatal, can go through an emotional experience and have to live with their decision for the rest of their lives. Police could use deadly force more often than they do as well. Now many departments are upgrading traditional training with training that incorporates responses to likely scenarios. This is designed to teach officers to anticipate and recognize threats that may lead to decisions of force. Threat assessment training may help officers in the field distinguish from a threatening scenario and one that is simply inflammatory.
Despite budgets that balance training and operation, law enforcement is increasingly turning to virtual scenarios and simulated marksmanship to train their officers, helping them make split-second judgment calls. Many of these calls are for scenarios that could have long-term legal and emotional ramifications. Useful videos deal with incidents that have occurred with known outcomes, accurate depictions, and options for the participant beyond the shoot/don’t shoot model, including escalating courses of action and talking.
When it comes to real life scenarios, you’ve got to mimic the reality to get decent training. The scenarios are learning tools that will be used to train officers to prepare them for the field. New scenarios are filmed every year with proper funding, so the courses are constantly being updated. Law enforcement professionals are involved in the production to make each scenario as realistic as possible and make sure the script and final result are as accurate as possible. Whether an enraged employee taking revenge on his co-workers for being fired, a bomber, domestic abuse, or a traffic violation with an irritated citizen, there are a variety of scenarios to learn from.
Today’s officer has to be ready for anything. That’s why law enforcement tips for most departments these days involve pervasive training and a thorough prepping of officers to help them be ready for any situation. When they have the information necessary and the experience, whether simulated or real, officers can make better split-second decisions and be more prepared in general.