Police Department Uses Video Simulator For Training


(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police Department has been using a new training tool that assists officers to help them make correct split-second decisions while on patrol.  Known as the MILO, it is a video screen simulator that can place an officer in various different scenarios, or it can be used as a target shooting range.  Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the video simulator can help with de-escalation of a situation, or even help an officer’s target marksmanship. Instead of using actual live ammunition, officers use a gun equipped with a laser to indicate where the shots are targeted and hit.  Vande Vegte tells why the local police department made the investment for the training simulator.

The interactive realistic simulator may compare to a large video game with an image projected on to a screen that covers an entire wall.  The room at the police station is only used for the video simulator training.

Assistant Police Chief, Justin Daale says officers are encouraged to train with the video simulator at least once a month.

Daale says deputies from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office have used the simulator for training, as has the Combined Emergency Rescue Team, or CERT, the tactical unit that consists of Le Mars Police, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Police and Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.  The Assistant Police Chief says in the future, the Le Mars Police Department may invite officers from other smaller communities to assist with their training using the simulator.  Chief Vande Vegte says the program is not always to use lethal weapons, but to learn ways to de-escalate the scenario.

Daale says the simulator may not be just for police officers, but businesses can utilize the technology to help calm down an angry and irate customer.

Vande Vegte says in the future, the police department may work with actors from the Le Mars Community Theater from the Postal Playhouse to create additional video scenarios that can be used for additional training purposes.

Here are some scenarios from the MILO simulator that are actual training scenes.  You are taking the place of the responding police officer and determine what course of action should be taken.

Situation #1

A call comes in to the police station saying there is a peculiar and strange acting man at a local park where children are playing.  You go to the park and quickly see the man is autistic or perhaps is mentally challenged.  He has not approached any children, and hasn’t done anything illegally.  The man says he likes to look at the squirrels.  What do you do?

Scenario #2

You are the police officer who responds to a home where a call of domestic abuse is reported.  Upon arriving at the scene, a woman comes out the front door.  She is emotional, and you notice her right eye is red, from what appears to be from an assault.  As you are talking to her and assessing the situation,  her husband comes from around the corner by the garage.

The husband says everything is alright and there is no need for the police to investigate.

The husband says he wants to show you his identification and reaches for his wallet. Do you trust him when he says he is getting his identification, or is he possibly reaching for a weapon?  What do you do?

The husband then quickly pulls a gun from his back pocket and aims it at you and starts firing.  Do you have your gun in hand and out of your holster?  Are you prepared to respond?  How do you react?


Scenario #3 

You are called to a motel where a woman is sitting in the lobby and is distraught.  You walk into the lobby and notice she is sitting at a couch.  How do you deal with the situation?  Moments later, an innocent bystander comes into the lobby area to see what is all the commotion?  He offers to help.  At the same time the woman pulls a gun and indicates she is ready to take her own life by holding the gun to her head.  A second later, she aims and shoots the bystander.  How do you handle the situation?  Are you prepared if she starts shooting you?  Where do you seek cover?  Do you have your gun drawn?

Another common scenario is a traffic stop, and the actions of the officer, as well as the subject.  Does the subject comply with the police officer’s orders, or does the subject choose to ignore the commands.  How do you react?  Is it a simple traffic stop, or is the subject wanted for other crimes?  Law enforcement officers may have only a split second to make a life changing decision, either for the officer or for the subject.  If the subject reaches inside his jacket, is he getting a weapon, or is he just reaching for his cell phone?  Again, how do you react?  All of the above scenarios occur every day with law enforcement officers across the nation, and they could easily happen here in Le Mars.