Many agencies are now utilizing some form of simulator technology in their training. These range from interactive judgmental use of force simulators to driving simulators. A use of force simulator provides a few unique opportunities to trainers. Prior to going through a complete scenario on the simulator a recruit class or group of officers could be divided into two groups. Each group is brought in and shown a scenario up to the point where the officer would use force to control the subject. At this point they could be given some time to imagine in their mind what control option they would utilize to control the subject. The recruits are then sent out to independently make notes of the incident while the second group is brought in and shown a different scenario. They go through the same process of imagining their control option and making notes.
The two groups are then brought back together, paired up with someone from the opposite group and each explains their scenario and response to their partner. Once both groups have had a chance to tell their story they watch the two scenarios again to see how close their explanation was to what actually occurred. This could be repeated on a regular basis in order to develop officers’ skills in observation, note taking and articulation. The timing of the explanation and the review of the videos can vary. In some cases the entire process would take place immediately after they have finished making their notes. In other cases the explanation could be done immediately following the note taking and then 24 to 72 hours later the officer would retell the story and watch the video to see what effect time has on the officers recollection of the event.
It is not necessary to have a simulator to conduct these types of exercises. If the agency does not have simulators or does not wish to use their scenarios in this manner the same process can be used with video clips of incidents. Most trainers have a large library of video clips they can use and if not the videos are available from a variety of sources. The ideal method of using these clips would be to project the scenarios onto a large screen by running the video through an LCD projector. This provides the officers with a closer to real life view of the incident and makes it easier for them to imagine being there. If this is not possible the video can be shown on a television.
Trainers can also become creative and utilize cameras to shoot your own videos of different subject behaviors and actions, which could be used at specific times in your programs. It is not necessary to have hi-tech video equipment to complete this task. The purpose of the video is to expose officers to subject behaviors and allow them to observe, respond, document and then tell the story. Actors from the local college, family members or plain clothes personnel can play the roles of the subjects in these videos. If these people are utilized it is important to ensure they understand the behaviors that are necessary for the video segment.
Similar articulation exercises could be utilized with driving simulators in which the officer is involved in a pursuit followed by note taking and articulation exercises. For agencies utilizing both driving and use of force simulators it is beneficial to have them in the same room so the officer can transition from the driving simulator to a use of force incident.
Tuesday we will wrap up this series with a discussion on debriefings as articulation training tool.