MT. ORAB — The Mt. Orab Police Department hosted a free police training seminar provided by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on July 22, held at the home of the Mt. Orab Fire Department.
Officers from the Mt. Orab PD, Fayetteville Police Department, Russellville Police Department, Georgetown Police Department,Winchester Police Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, and other local police agencies took part in the training program, which involved taking part in computer simulations.
One simulation involved the officers on their feet, using modified handguns, tasers, and pepper spray that can be read by a screen in a program similar to some seen in video game arcades, only using real taped video from real-life situations.
The other simulation was a driving simulator, testing the officer’s driving abilities to respond to emergencies on the road, with dangerous drivers who don’t pull over to the side of the road or aren’t paying attention.
“This training program is to educate officers on making good ‘use-of-force’ decisions and interactions with people,” Mt. Orab police officer George Baker said. “It’s forcing them to talk to people and pick up on danger clues that we may exhibit.”
In one video example in the first simulation, a male pulls over on the left side of the road after being seen driving recklessly and goads the police officers in the room to shoot him. Then, he turns homicidal and claims he will kill the police officers. In the video, the male reaches into his car and begins to pull out a firearm.
The instructor points out to the officers in the room during a debrief that there were a number of red flags he identified.
The job of the officer is trying to handle the situation, but once they see the male pulling out a firearm, the officers use lethal force to diffuse the situation.
“The only time we employ lethal force is if someone is a lethal threat to somebody else,” George Baker said. “The best way we can do that is multiple high, center-chest hits. We aren’t trying to kill anybody but we have to stop their actions immediately.”
In another computer simulation, the police officers are part of a four-person police team that is hunting down an alleged gunman who has put a local school on lock down. The officers form a diamond formation and soon see two children laying in the hallways bleeding.
Suddenly, one of the policemen is shot in the shoulder from an unidentified gunman. When the gunman is identified, he has a child in the execution pose.
On the first run through of the simulator, the police officers in the room were a half-second too late, and although they incapacitated the gunman, they were too late to save the child.
In the second run through, the officers trusted their instincts and connected with a pair of head shots to incapacitate the gunman and let the child escape and run away from harm.
“Many times as a police officer, we subconsciously make these decisions, but its about teaching them to recognize why they do it, how they do it, and articulate and document what they’re seeing,” Baker said. “That’s all part of this training.”