Making the correct decision in a split second can make a lifesaving difference for law enforcement officers. That makes training essential, and the Dothan Police Department’s new simulator makes training more realistic.

The Meggit System Indoor 300 provides more than 800 scenarios for training using an indoor, five-screen simulator.

“I have scenarios that offer training in active shooting, domestic violence, mental disturbance training, etc.,” said Sgt. Sammie Hancock. “This simulator offers state-of-the-art training for law enforcement throughout the Wiregrass area.”

The system targets marksmanship, judgment and use-of-force training. The instructor can increase or decrease the intensity of the situation.

The weapon used during the scenario is actually a Glock pistol used by officers. The gun has been gutted and installed with computerized equipment, allowing the officer to load and unload the weapon, just as he or she would on the street.

“This system is designed to help officers stay on top of their skills,” Hancock said. “We make split-second decisions daily, and this allows us to learn from any mistakes we may make.”

One scenario assists officers in training for an active-shooter situation. The officer is responding to an active shooter at a local veterans hospital. The officer must bring down the gunman without making a mistake in his split-second decisions. One wrong decision and an innocent person could be killed.

“So many people make comments about law enforcement and the decisions they make on the streets,” Hancock said. “What people don’t realize is, is when someone is turning their back to an officer and reach into their waistband, is that person reaching for a gun or what? In that instance, a split-second decision has to be made.”

The virtual training simulator also helps educate officers on making better decisions.

“In this training, the system picks up on what an officer focuses his target on and for how long,” Hancock said. “Say, if an officer is focusing his target on a person’s bag while he determines where to go, or what to shoot, the equipment lets me know. I can then inform the officer that his gun was focused on a handbag for a certain amount of time, and if someone or another officer bumped the officer, he or she would have shot an innocent individual."

Hancock said because the state-of-the art simulator puts officers in situations that might only happen on the street into a confined learning environment, they can experience a potential situation and learn from the training. 

According to Hancock, the system not only allows officers to train for worst-case scenarios, it also trains them on how to de-escalate a situation.

The virtual simulator also is open to the community for a fee.

“This training is very beneficial for churches and security organizations,” Hancock said. “It is also helpful for those who need to know if they have the capability of shooting someone if they had to. Many people own a gun, but they wonder if they have the mindset to use it. This program will help those people answer that question.”

For more information on the police department’s virtual simulator, call 334-615-3900.

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