Tiverton Police Draw Handguns In a Virtual World of Crime [VIDEO]
As part of annual training, the department has the firearms training simulator this week, which puts officers in hundreds of real life 'shoot' or 'no shoot' scenarios.
"Put the knife down m'am, I'm going to ask you one more time," said Tiverton Police Lt. Patrick Jones to a hysterical woman leaning against a room entryway only a few feet away, holding a bloody knife. When he arrived first on scene by himself to the home of a report of a domestic incident, another woman led an injured man from the porch with several stab wounds to his back, so Jones entered and encountered the knife-wielding suspect.
When she continued to resist cooperating to his commands, he put his gun back into the holster and grabbed his taser. She made a move toward him, and he pulled the trigger, shocking her.
The vivid reality of the situation immediately ended, and the message "scenario completed" appeared on a giant projector screen of the firearms training simulator (FATS).
The department has the $100,000 piece of equipment on loan this week from the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust. Officer Sean Frodyma said this travels to the majority of police departments around the state as part of annual training for all officers and those in the police academy. Tiverton's been using a closed off room in Sakonnet Bay Manor to conduct it.
"We have to be in a 'shoot' or 'no shoot' situation," he said.
Frodyma said the simulator was originally designed by a racecar driver for racing simulations, and its effectiveness quickly trended toward law enforcement and military training. On Thursday, Frodyma used a real handgun converted for the simulator and uses compressed air. He said you can use a patrol rifle, OC spray and shotgun on the simulator.
Lt. Jones entered four real life scenarios Thursday for his training, one being a distraught young man sitting in his family garage covered in gasoline, one being a student who barricaded himself in a school classroom with a weapon and another one, entering a high school that had overrun by at least four shooters. The images and moving frames were not computer generated, but real actors and actresses.
Frodyma sat behind the projector at the FATS computer, picking scenarios on the hard drive, then altering verbal commands and outcomes of the scenario's storyline as Jones played it out.
View this company website for an example of a FATS system.