Firearms training improves decision making skills

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Greenville Police Sgt. Kenneth Parker, Jr. takes aim on a simulated suspect during one of 12 scenarios he went through on the Fire Arms Training Simulation (FATS) System. Officers from Greenville Police Department rotated through simulation training on the system recently to help improve their reaction time during hazardous situations.

Photo By George Wacha

When responding to a call for a suspicious vehicle, building break-in, or suspicious person loitering in an area, a police officer never knows when his or her life is going to be threatened.

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The Greenville Police Department recently took steps to improve its officers' reaction time and decision making skills with regard to weapons training.

Capt. Danny Campbell, patrol division commander and firearms instructor for the Greenville Police Department, was recently able to train officers through the use of the Firearms Training System (FATS).

The FATS simulation system is the latest in high tech firearms training for law enforcement and security officers.

The FATS system's sophisticated software coordinates computer, laser disc and video projection technology together to give life-like simulation of real-life situations.

A unique leasing system made available from En-Mark Simulation Technologies, located in Pendleton, Ind. allows departments to obtain the valuable training without a major investment in the equipment.

Mike Manley, FATS sales and leasing agent for En-Mark, set up the equipment and instructed Captain Campbell in its use.

According to Manley, "There are three systems rotationally available in 31 states."

"The system has helped to defend officer actions in court at least four times that I am aware of" Manley added, "And of course, there is no way of accounting for actual numbers of officers that have benefited from the decision-making training."

Campbell conducted the training for both of Greenville's divisions, Patrol and Investigation, for all ranks from Captain

to Patrol Officer.

Campbell stated, "I was able to put 22 GPD officers, and four members of the Butler County Sheriff's Department through and average of 10-12 scenarios each."

There are a total of 55 different scenarios which simple traffic stops, burglaries, robberies, and reports of suspicious persons, hostage situations, and other dangerous situations.

"The officers are given the opportunity to go through such decision-making processes as to which weapon to use, when to draw a weapon, and

also to sharpen their reaction time during this decision making process," Campbell stated.