Moraine Park Technical College recently hosted a Use of Force Simulator demonstration for local law enforcement and corrections agencies.
The event was organized by the college’s criminal justice-corrections program.
The Use of Force Simulator is a tool that allows Moraine Park’s students to respond to real-life crisis scenarios in a simulated, virtual environment. Users are able to hold firearms and other instruments while navigating a simulated scenario projected on a screen.
“These simulations allow our students to be immersed in real-life situations in a safe environment. By being exposed to high-stress situations in the classroom, our students will be better prepared for the workforce upon graduation,” said Jeff Gruss, corrections science instructor at Moraine Park.
Agencies in attendance to view the simulator were Dodge Correctional Institution, Taycheedah Correctional Institution, Juneau Police Department, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Resource Center and Fond du Lac Police Department.
The simulations also included picture-in-picture playback, with law enforcement able to see video with scripted interactions, alongside how students and users choose to react. Scenarios involved either the use of communication, pepper spray, Taser or deadly force. Low lighting and background noise was incorporated to make the scenarios more realistic, and several law enforcement members demonstrated the simulation themselves.
Security director Dylon Radtke of Dodge Correctional Institution said the Use of Force Simulator showcased promising features for future training. He said repetition using the handgun, Taser, and other items were valuable, with the goal of moving towards muscle memory by providing endless repetition opportunity without the use of live rounds.
He plans to reserve the equipment for either later this year or early in January to help train his staff.
William Pollard, warden at Dodge Correctional Institution, also felt the opportunities to explore better communication was an impressive feature of the simulation.
“One of the things we use most is our communication skills, and this system will enable us to incorporate that along with various tactical decisions,” Pollard said.
Gruss said those same skills are emphasized to Moraine Park students using the equipment – showcasing the consequences of both good and poor communication.
“The branching capability within the software teaches the students interpersonal communication skills,” Gruss said. “If the student’s communications are not good or appropriate, we can choose a branch that will extend the scenario or have an undesired outcome.”