Simulator drops officers in high-pressure scenarios

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) – Law enforcement officers are constantly going through training and learning new skills. This week, police officers in Georgetown County are getting the opportunity to sharpen their gun and decision-making skills. The sheriff's office says they're using what's called a "Firearms Training Simulator" (FATS).

The idea is for the officers to get practice making decisions in realistic high-pressure scenes. This give officers life-like experience in scenes that the sheriff's office says are happening more and more.

"In today's society, you see a lot more of those," said Sgt. Gary Todd, with the Georgetown CountySheriff's office. "There's some swat team rescues, hostage rescues, numerous things, shootings, and domestics.  All of those are a big problem today."

The FATS computer plays a scenario onto a projection screen. The FATS version being used the sheriff's office has about 60 different possible scenarios ranging from a simple traffic stop to an active school shooting scene. The officer in training stands by, armed with a fake weapon.

The officers can choose from a rifle, pistol, or taser gun; each one is designed to weigh and feel like the real thing. When the scene rolls,  the officer listens for instructions and responds to the threat accordingly,

The sheriff's office says the officers can see how they did immediately after the scene is over and get feedback from their instructors. The say it's a valuable training tool that falls in line with the office's training motto: "You perform the way they train."

"We try to encourage our officers as well, what you can learn in a training situation, can help better you perform in the real world, depending on what you're dealt with and be able to learn from it and apply it," added Sgt Todd.

The Georgetown County Sheriff'sOffice will continue to host the fats training until Wednesday. It started last Thursday and so far about 100officers from local and state agencies have participated in training sessions.

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