MPD completes video simulation training

Angie Talken
Linn County Leader

Last week all members of the Marceline Police Department completed a video simulation training that virtually placed them in scenarios they may, or have already, found themselves in, in the line of duty. 

Every time a law enforcement officer gets a call or makes a traffic stop it is a different situation, Kelly Beets, Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA) senior loss control consultant said.

An officer with the Marceline Police Department (MPD) begins his virtual interactive training session by shooting at targets. Once the electronic gun was fired, officers could see where the bullet would have struck the target by looking at the screen.

Whether the officer finds himself approaching a domestic dispute,  a suicide victim or a routine traffic stop, the potential for an individual to have a weapon is always there.

"The officer has to decide when to shoot and when not to shoot," Beets said. "Until an officer faces that situation, how quickly he or she would shoot is an open question."

Beets administers the  IES interactive video training system to help police officers test their own reaction to threats and the decisions they would make in split seconds. The training is required annually by MIRMA, which is the company through which the city has insurance.  Beets said he administers the training to 37 police departments and other law enforcement agencies annually. 

The life-sized video places the officer in real-time use-of-force situations. Officer ins Marceline responded to situations including an active shooter in a school, a domestic dispute at a daycare, a traffic stop, a home with unknown persons inside and a possible officer-involved shooting.

Police Chief Bob Donelson said his officers complete more than the state-required two-hour annual firearms training.

"Our policy states the officers have to complete two firearms qualifications a year, during both the day and night, using a variety of weapons," Donelson said. "We cannot safely recreate the situations the officers are seeing in the virtual training, due to the safety of others and the cost and availability of ammunition."

Donelson said MPD officers must qualify on four different weapons and complete yearly taser training or recertification. 

During the training, the officers use a handgun that has been equipped electronically so that when it is fired toward an individual on the screen a playback will reveal what a real bullet would have struck. That handgun is in similar size and weight to the officer's duty weapon and fits into their holster. 

"The MIRMA training is important," Donelson said. "It's a training we don't get anywhere else."

Earlier this spring members of the police department spent several hours at Fr. McCartan Catholic School to learn the layout of the building and practice [possible real-life scenarios there, Donelson noted in the past members of the police and fire department have toured Walsworth to do the same. Plans are underway to do similar training at Marceline R-V schools. 

During and after the MIRMA training, Donelson said he would review policies with officers and discussed their responses. the results of the training along with Donelson and Beets observations will help Donelson find and tailor future training.