Charlotte Police Chief Lisa Sherman considers herself extremely fortunate to have never fired her weapon in the line of duty. She knows, however, not every officer is as fortunate. That’s why Sherman took advantage of an opportunity for her officers to participate in a day of intense, realistic training. Police training2
Utilizing the latest in technology, each officer in the department, including Sherman, participated in a training session Monday, May 18 through the use of a wireless firearms training simulator (FATS). Using Bluetooth technology, officers used real firearms and tasers (modified to work with the training program) when presented with up to 10 different scenarios. Each scenario, which plays out on a life-size screen, tests an officer’s judgment using previously recorded scenes that can be modified based on each officer’s reaction.
“This is real life … as real as we can get,” said Steve Cooper, owner of Tactical Edge Protective Service, which brought the training to Charlotte City Hall. “We can escalate or de-escalate the scenarios based on how the officer is reacting.”
Sherman described the training as extremely intense.
“We go to some of these scenarios,” Sherman said. “The more we can train, the better we can serve. This allows us to make sure our officers are tactically sound when that person that they don’t know dictates the situation.”
The FATS system contains 250 different scenarios, including vehicle stops, domestic violence, school and workplace violence and hostage situations. Each officer receives one-on-one training and immediate feedback as to how they handled each situation. The Bluetooth weapons provide diagnostics as to where the officer’s weapon was aimed throughout each scenario, how many shots were fired and where each shot hit.
“Not only is the scenario played out on the screen, a second camera records the entire event so everyone gets a lot of real time information back,” Cooper said. “Our officers can describe what they did and what they saw that led to their decision on how to react to the situation. This is the only thing on the market that instructs officers on their judgment of the use of force in a situation. It takes training from target recognition to the judgment level.”
Sherman said it is her intention for the department to get the best training it can find.
“We always want to stay one step ahead,” Sherman said. “If we can afford to and have the resources available, we’re going to get the best training we can.”