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November 2019 Law Enforcement Newsletter

///November 2019 Law Enforcement Newsletter
November 2019 Law Enforcement Newsletter 2019-12-18T15:51:54+00:00

SIMULATION TRAINING, GUN RANGE DESIGN, EQUIPMENT AND INSTALLATION NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2019

MAIN STORY

How virtual training improves use-of-force judgment when officers need it most.

INCIDENT #1: In Fort Worth, Texas, Atatiana Jefferson, an African-American woman working in pharmaceutical equipment sales with hopes of attending medical school, is playing video games in her bedroom with her eight-year-old nephew at 2:30 a.m. She is tending the house while her ailing mother, for whom she is assuming a caregiver role, is in the hospital.

Seeing her house doors open and lights on at the late hour, a concerned neighbor calls 3-1-1 to ask police to check on Jefferson. An officer and his partner responded to the “open structure” call. Without knocking on the door or identifying themselves, the officers move to the side of Jefferson’s house with a flashlight. Hearing rustling and assuming a prowler, Jefferson reaches for the legal handgun in her purse. Holding the weapon, she approaches the window. Still not identifying himself as police, Aaron Dean, one of the officers, tells Jefferson to put her hands up. He almost immediately shoots through her bedroom window, killing her.

The repercussions: Police say that Jefferson had a right to arm herself if she felt threatened in her own home. Top police officials say there was “absolutely no excuse” for the shooting. Aaron Dean, the officer who shot Jefferson, resigns from the department and is charged with murder. The Police Chief says that he would have fired Dean anyway for his disregard of procedures. The incident shocks the Fort Worth community, a city that has experienced a string of officer shootings in recent months.

INCIDENT #2: Former Dallas Police Department officer Amber Guyger is sentenced to ten years in prison for shooting 26-year-old Botham Jean, an accountant and church leader, in his own apartment. Guyger, an off-duty officer but still in her Dallas police uniform, tells jurors that she confused his apartment with hers and thought Jean was a burglar. When asked on the stand about her training in de-escalation tactics and shoot-no shoot protocol, Guyger claims she does not remember.

These incidents show that retention of training along with ability to act wisely under stressful circumstances have become top priorities for law enforcement officers. It is simply not enough to clock in required training hours. Officers must prove themselves trained and trusted to handle the complex world of rapid judgments in unpredictable circumstances. And they must understand the correct balance between assuring self-protection and cautiously obtaining an accurate appraisal of the situation, which has become a key issue in the Fort Worth incident.1

High-fidelity, realistic, immersive simulation: Learning under stress

An investment in the right simulation equipment can make a major difference for your agency and the community you serve. With virtual training, you can improve judgment and marksmanship without the costs of ammunition and environmental protection. Officers can train more frequently, getting feedback and incorporating what they learn in their next session. And they can do it at the best time and place that fits into their schedules.

As the Detroit News recently wrote, “A firing range is where officers learn how to shoot. Now a [Meggitt Training Systems] simulation tool new to Schoolcraft College’s Public Safety program will teach them when or if they should.”2

Located in the Livonia suburb of Detroit, Schoolcraft trains hundreds of law enforcement officers every year. When they realized that they needed to supplement their live fire capabilities, they turned to Meggitt’s FATS® 300LE.

The FATS 300LE consists of five large screens, which establish a 300-degree view of a scenario. The action transpires not only in front of officers, but to their left or right. The result is a much more realistic perspective, allowing response to unexpected happenings from every side. As a scenario unfolds based on actual court-adjudicated incidents, officers make their decisions: to de-escalate, use non-lethal alternatives like Tasers® or fire their weapon.

The Detroit News article on the Schoolcraft system reflects the diversity of scenarios that trainees on the FATS 300LE can use:

  • A woman’s husband comes to her job and begins physically abusing her.
  • A mass shooting breaks out, and officers must use their marksmanship skills to deal with one or more active shooters.
  • A fired woman refuses to leave her office.
  • During a routine traffic stop, a large man acts belligerently, leaving his vehicle without being ordered to do so and approaching the officer.

Each of the scenarios requires a different response. In each case, officers must load the appropriate Meggitt BlueFire® weapon, e.g. handguns, Tasers, long guns. The weapons have the same form, fit and function as the weapons that an officer uses in the normal course of duty. Then depending on the officer’s actions, the instructor can “branch” the scenario, displaying an alternative outcome.

If the officer issues a proper voice command in an effort towards de-escalation, the suspect may comply. But what if the officer doesn’t speak the right words in the right tone? They may then confront a knife or firearm threat. In situations that can escalate in a split second, the officer learns how to take control in the best way possible before using the least desirable tactic.

In fact, the instructor can add to the officer’s stress via sounds like gunfire or breaking glass. According to a Schoolcraft instructor, the more stress an officer confronts during training scenarios, the more calmly they will react under street conditions.

In the feedback session, the instructor takes the trainee through their responses frame by frame: Why did you respond as you did? Why was your shot placement off? In retrospect, how would you handle this situation differently?

Schoolcraft, which installed the FATS 300LE in the late summer of 2019, plans to use the simulator for more than 100 police trainees or sworn officers from different departments in the metropolitan Detroit area. They will also integrate it with the college’s live fire training. As the associate dean of public safety programs states, “We get them in here, and now everything we‘ve been talking about on the gun range, everything we’ve been talking about in our scenario training, comes together. The “lightbulb” eventually comes on.”

By offering scalable virtual and live fire solutions, Meggitt can help that “light bulb” come on for departments of all sizes.

Optimizing virtual training: The best implementation for your agency

In addition to the FATS 300LE, Meggitt offers a variety of equipment options to meet your specific requirements:

  • The FATS® 100P: portable training in the field. Portable and light, the FATS® 100P virtual training system delivers advanced functionality, solid weapon handling, shot placement analytics, marksmanship, judgmental, automatic coaching tools and enhanced graphic capabilities for an all-encompassing immersive training platform. Available in a ruggedized hand carry case the size of a large range bag, the FATS 100P allows one person the ease of transportation, set up and operation.
  • The FATS® 100LE: used by departments of all sizes across the country. Its impressive array of functionality crosses over to the 3D marksmanship training environment, with visually realistic and highly detailed terrains and targets. The amazing visual fidelity and target detail readily supports target detection, recognition and identification requirements. Judgmental training is robust and presents de-escalation of force scenarios for effective training.  The FATS 100LE allows the instructor to repeat training exercises in a low cost, time efficient manner, while replay and look back functions provide an additional debriefing benefit.
  • The FATS® 180LE: cost-effective, immersive realism. The 180° high definition projection and 5.1 surround sound increases the realism of training, heightening awareness and proper use of force responses. Deploying three screens, ultra-short throw projectors provide the user greater freedom of movement within the training space while displaying stunning visuals in the 180-degree environment.

The stakes are high. The investment in training has never been more crucial.

Protecting officers and communities is incumbent upon every agency. Law enforcement must avoid distrust from residents as well as any trepidation that would lessen their vigilance and response. Continual learning instills the kinesthetic and mental memory that can increase situational awareness, reinforce appropriate behaviors and, especially important, avert catastrophic mistakes.

For more information or to arrange a demonstration of our virtual systems or new mental health scenarios, please contact us.

1 See https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2019/10/15/deaths-of-atatiana-jefferson-botham-jean-show-how-police-training-emphasizes-danger-to-cops-over-community.
2See https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2019/10/08/police-shooting-simulator-training-exercises-schoolcraft-college/3897516002.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

Bullet Traps

One of the most important pieces of equipment in any shooting range is the bullet trap. Should you go with steel, rubber, or a variety of other economically viable—yet less effective options? Are you looking for a quieter, low-lead-dust trap, or one that can take heavy, repeated fire? If you want the company that invented the first commercially available steel bullet trap AND the world’s first (and only patented stair-step) rubber bullet trap, then Meggitt Training Systems is your source.

To support today’s advancements in law enforcement training, Meggitt offers the latest generation of steel bullet trap, the LE5000 steel rifle-rated trap. Building on proven methods and past successes, Meggitt engineers and shooters spent over two years designing and developing a unique trap to accommodate rigorous courses of fire with pistol and rifle rounds. Constructed to set a new standard in projectile containment, the LE5000 surpasses competitors’ traps through a variety of unique features:

Designed for complete bullet containment. The LE5000 is a completely dry, all steel scroll-style bullet trap. All major seams are reinforced by a secondary steel barrier to minimize spatter and dust penetration. Side walls are available in multiple thicknesses pending customer requirements. Impact plate thickness and width are also variable according to customer needs.

Uniquely designed split scroll. The rear cover on the scroll is removable for inspection and cleaning, while scroll parts can be replaced with the primary scroll structure still standing. This unique feature is indispensable when access to the scroll interior is required. The side covers are also readily removable, so that an overall check of the entire scroll section can be made quickly.

Raised and open-throat design. The entrance to the scroll is placed at the height where the majority of the rounds hit, reducing dust generation and fragment deposition on the lower scroll plates. This translates into a cleaner trap with reduced exterior maintenance. The open-throat design eliminates vertical supports in the bullet path that could cause ricochet.

Interchangeable/reversible primary plates. Most steel bullet traps use abrasion-resistant steel to reduce wear on the trap plates. The LE5000 features reversible main trap plates for extra service life. The plate system does not contain exposed fasteners or cover plates which can cause splatter or ricochet.

Spent round retrieval. The LE5000 comes standard with a bucket retrieval system that features one-handed unlocking for quick bucket removal and replacement. Conveyor system is available as an option. Another feature designed with the end user in mind, it reduces maintenance time to a minimum.

Self-supporting overtrap. The upper impact plates are fully supported by the lower trap structure, so that no ceiling attachments are needed to support the plates. This means a quicker, cleaner installation, with no worries about structural enhancements to support the trap in both indoor and outdoor installations.

Low cost. Every piece of the trap was optimized to use industry standard steel shapes, sizes, and processes so that the customers’ overall cost is reduced without sacrificing safety or performance. The trap supports are structural steel, not formed sheet, for long-lasting durability.

Only you can determine what bullet trap is right for your range. Click here to learn more – and determine what best fits your needs.

DID YOU KNOW

  1. Firearms Training Systems, Inc. (FATS®) was established in Atlanta, Georgia by Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter. FATS is the first company in the world to produce interactive firearms training simulators for law enforcement and military markets.
  1. Our legacy company, Caswell International, invented the world’s first target system in 1926; the world’s first bullet trap in 1935; and the world’s first rubber bullet trap in 1989.

We’ve been around the block

LEARN ABOUT OUR HISTORY

FAQ

Q. I want to build a gun range and I have the land purchased. Right now there is nothing around it, but I’m concerned about the rapid development of property in the area. What should I do to ensure I don’t have encroachment in the future?

A. Before a shooting range project is considered, most organizations already have an understanding of the land to be used. But what about the future use of the site? While it may be ideal today, what about 5, 10 or even 20 years from now? Just because a site is available today, it may not meet your needs in the future. Don’t settle for less, as the site location may be the most important decision you make. Taking land just because it is available or even free—without doing your due diligence to ensure it is free of deficiencies—is key. Inclusion of the training to the site analysis is vital.

Q. We’ll soon be building a training facility, but I’m not clear on how the facility will be used. What do you advise?

A. Before you can move forward with your training facility, you need to fully understand and identify your department’s training needs and develop a comprehensive training needs assessment. First, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the legal ramifications of training?
  • What do you use as guides your training?
  • Do you look to standards developed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), or others?
  • What is your responsibility to meet these directives?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can take the next steps to solidifying the design and equipment.
For direction on your range construction, design or installation, contact us.

MEGGITT IN THE NEWS

Friend or foe? Shooting simulator helps cops train in lifelike way       Learn more

Meggitt integrates virtual trainers into close-quarter ‘shoot houses’       Learn more

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This newsletter covers just a few of the ways that Meggitt’s virtual and live-fire products are improving training for defense forces, law enforcement agencies and commercial gun ranges around the world. In upcoming newsletters, we’ll introduce you to new technologies and products. For more information, contact MGTTS-LESales@meggitt.com.

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