The most dangerous situation for a police officer is a confrontation with someone who is armed.
To prepare for that circumstance, Oklahoma City police use a state-of-the-art, sophisticated shooting simulator that puts officers through a multitude of scenarios, from a traffic stop to encountering a burglar in a darkened warehouse.
The simulator, developed by Ti Systems of Golden, Colo., was installed midyear. It uses video clips that respond to voice commands. The same scenario can be loaded to change the dynamic of the exercise. In one version, the burglar in the warehouse may have a staple gun in his hand, but brandish a pistol the second time.
“It's a firearms and less-lethal simulator that gives the officers the ability to come in here and practice real-world scenarios where they can use force, use less-lethal force or not use force at all,” Sgt. Shawn Byrne said.
During the exercise, officers are equipped with police-issued weapons that have been modified to fire electronic beams rather than bullets. The number of rounds in the clip can be adjusted and a reload feature added.
The clips for those weapons are filled with compressed CO2 canisters, which provide 62 percent of the recoil of a Glock service pistol. The clips can be dropped from the weapon when they're “empty” and the simulator recognizes fresh magazines.
Other weapons can be used with the simulator, from chemical spray up to an assault rifle, Byrne said.
The lighting can be modified during the scenario so that the area where the weapon is pointed is the only place illuminated and the darkened areas must be scanned quickly for impending threats.