WENTZVILLE, MO (KPLR) - A special piece of equipment is giving police practice with real-life shooting scenarios.
Wentzville Police began using its computer simulator program as a training tool for all sworn officers. A hostile, armed driver at a traffic stop, an armed man standing on the roof of a building, and an emotionally disturbed individual are among the scenes presented to officers.
The characters in the simulations react in accordance with the officers’ actions. If officers feel threatened, they draw their weapon and fire if necessary.
“We want to teach our guys to de-escalate. We don’t want to teach them to escalate. We want them prepared in case something goes south,” Wentzville Police Department Major Paul West said.
Officers use an unloaded Glock .22 filled with compressed air. The weapon recoils like an actual firearm when fired.
“I’ve had officers that have been police for decades. They’ll go through this and say, ‘My heart rate’s up,’” Officer Matt Schneider, Wentzville Police Firearms Instructor said. “In a perfect world, we’d have time to think through, ‘Does that person have a gun and is he intending to point it at me? And if it’s pointed at me, does he intend to shoot me?’ But we don’t have that much time. In real life. And that’s what’s really, really hard.”