PRINCETON, Ind. (WFIE) - Princeton police officers are ready for anything.
This week officers took part in simulated training. It puts them in everyday scenarios so they can practice how to react.
“Some will end in absolutely nothing happening," said Princeton Police Chief Derek McGraw, "and some will end in shootings.”
Everyday, police officers are faced with life or death situations. How they react can determine whether or not a subject is arrested peacefully or if shots will be fired. That’s why training on how to handle these potentially life or death situations is vital.
That’s why Princeton PD brought in FATS, Firearm Training Simulations, to train their officers on how to react and sharpen their decision making.
“You’re goal is to diffuse a situation with your words," McGraw said. "It can’t always happen that way and sometimes things tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving, and you never know which way it’s going to go.”
The simulation is run by another member of the force, who can escalate or deescalate a situation based on a number of factors: how the officer approaches the subject, how the officer speaks, any movements the officer makes. This forces the officer to react in real time to a changing situation, and it gives McGraw an opportunity to evaluate and teach.
“Should you have had your gun out, should you have not had your gun out. Should you have used less lethal because we have a taser option here. Should you have used your words better. And a high stress environment is what you try to create in training," said McGraw. "We’re not wanting them to fail, but we need them to fail here and not in the street.”
These scenarios range from a simple traffic stop to a school shooting and everything in between. And review everything from vocal commands to the reactionary gap with a charging subject.
According to McGraw, the department doesn’t get to undergo FATS training every year, but it is a valuable tool to use when it’s available.
“We have three seconds to decide something that’s going to get litigated for three years, you know, and looked at from 100 different view points," McGraw said. "We want to try to put as much vital training into this as we can, so we make the right decision in those three seconds.”