Written by Ellis Pines – June 20, 2019
The Value of Realistic Scenario-based Training: Doing the Job Right
“It’s not easy to remain passive when a child-beater looks you in the eye and tells you—you have to understand, the kid was keeping him awake. It takes a lot of professional training and strong character not to respond in anger. I know, because I spent my early years listening to some of these awful people. Sometimes I wanted to hit them myself. I didn’t, but it helped me understand how hard it is to do a cop’s job right. As hard as it is, the great majority of our cops still do just that.”
Bob Schieffer, “Face the Nation” on CBS, April 19, 2015
Shortly before retiring from moderator on “Face the Nation,” Bob Schieffer hearkened back to his days as a police reporter. His purpose: To counter the barrage of anti-police criticism that had grown lately. Schieffer concludes “a lot of professional training” plus “strong character” work together to make law enforcement function.
Virtual training scenarios can help officers deal with the kind of situation Schieffer mentions. For example, suppose you are an officer responding to a domestic call involving a man who has beaten his wife with a hammer. He is now threatening to harm his children. The suspect is extremely aggressive and possibly suffering from a mental disorder. Yet you have to put aside emotion and respond with appropriate use of force. On the one hand, lives (including your own) could be at stake. On the other, law and departmental rules warn against excessive force. Can you exercise good verbal communication skills to defuse the situation while being alert that matters can escalate in seconds?
Since the scenario is based on actual 2014 case, trainers can measure responses against known results. Officers thus have more experience in gauging a dangerous situation.
For more information on realistic training scenarios, check out this page.