Simulator Helps Jenks Officers Prepare For Real-Life Situations
JENKS, Oklahoma - Every day, officers must make split-second decisions, and many times it comes down to which weapon they need to use and when to take action.
Monday, Jenks police trained on a realistic simulator that helps them make those difficult decisions under pressure.
When police pull out of the station, they never know what emergencies they'll be dispatched to, and officers said going through the simulator gives them the training to respond to the most dangerous situations and feel confident in their decisions.
During his training, Jenks Police Officer Thomas Johnson approached two men who weren’t listening. One of them slapped the other, then, started walking toward Johnson.
The only weapon he had on him was a handgun, but he said that wasn't the situation to reach for it.
“I would go with the Tazer, just because he is coming at me aggressively," he said.
The simulator, MILO, is as close as it gets to a real life situation, according to Corporal Aaron McNulty.
“What MILO does is give the officers a chance to engage in scenarios where they can have different options," he said.
It also has different outcomes, depending on how the officer reacts to the situation.
Detective Michael Gauldin said, "This is extremely intense. Most situations we face aren't this intense, this fast. However, the training is crucial when we do get in a situation that intense."
Gauldin's scenario was an emotional disturbance call, with a man armed with a knife. The detective pulled his gun.
“If they are brandishing any type of deadly weapon, knives or firearms, typically yes, we are gonna draw our firearms, and that's for an officer’s safety standpoint," he said.
His simulation ended peacefully, but that’s not always the case.
McNulty had me go through a scenario where a group of men was causing a disturbance. I asked when to draw my gun, if necessary.
“When you feel like your life is in imminent jeopardy, then, that might be the time. But, realistically speaking, you have to make that decision," McNulty said.
It didn't end well for me. But the training, paired with an officer's experience, will, hopefully, lead to a different outcome.
MILO has hundreds of options that are very realistic, and Jenks officers will continue with this and other types of training.
Soon, they will head to the race track to practice high-speed chase pursuits.