Charlie Leone describes training Temple Police officers to know when to use their weapons as a completely different process than training officers on how to use their weapons.
“We are always taught how to use something, but being taught when to use something, you got to keep that up because that’s the real important thing, when do you use your weapon,” said Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services.
Leone anticipates that by semester’s end, officers can practice weapon-usage scenarios through a simulator the department plans to install in its new training room. The new training area will be located in the CSS administrative headquarters at 1101 W. Montgomery Ave.
The new training area will consist of one multipurpose room for training or community meetings and a second space for hands-on training.
Officers also go through a training process while in police academy, but the new facilities will be used for additional practice.
Leone said the simulator, the Training Lab from TI Training, will be purchased as soon as the training area is finished.
“It’s one of those shoot [or] don’t shoot scenario type things but not only with guns,” Leone said. “It works with your [baton], it works with your pepper spray, it works with your taser.”
Leone explained that the simulator will present officers with one of hundreds of different scenarios and allowing them to respond however they see fit. Potential scenarios include a virtual bystander coming at the officer and simply showing an ID card and another featuring someone who approaches the officer with a knife.
“It’s a screen, but it has that realism, that even with the flashlight you use if you’re going in a dark room, you put the flashlight on and it shines it like a flashlight and moves with it,” Leone said with excitement. “It’s really interactive – crazy interactive.”
Videos can also be customized for Temple, giving officers an even more realistic experience, Leone added.
Additionally, training sessions can be recorded, giving the opportunity for mistakes to be identified and corrected. Policies on certain scenarios can also be displayed on the screen, giving officers further opportunity to learn.
“[The simulator] really impressed the heck out of me,” Leone said.
Leone said TI Training showed the product in a demonstration at the TECH Center. Police from Bensalem – whose department had just purchased the simulator – also attended.
TI Training’s website explains its technology.
“Visually, our scenarios incorporate realistic gunfire, explosions and bodily injury,” the website reads. The company says its goal is to “prepare law enforcement personnel to be highly effective in life and death situations.”
Leone said the simulator “gives our folks an opportunity to really train and not always look for different areas to [experience these scenarios].”
Currently, Leone said, officers trained by creating role-playing scenarios for one another. He said the officers are excited about the new technology.
“I think it’s good it gives them that feeling, because this is the kind of environment you really want to be super careful in when you use your weapons,” Leone said. “We’ve been doing well, but you always want to be careful.”
Cindy Stansbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org