The Hattiesburg Police Department has a new piece of equipment for training officers.
The department recently purchased a RULETC Training Lab Use of Force Training Simulator to be housed at the training academy to benefit the officers.
"This system is needed to provide the best, most advanced and effective training to our officers as well as a public relations tool," said Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker in a letter to city hall in regards to the simulator.
This means officers will be spending a little more time in the classroom.
"Officers are able to use this piece of equipment to go through several hundred training scenarios," said Hattiesburg Police Lt. Latosha Myers Mitchell. "They’re going to interact with different types of people, come across every person of every walk of life in this scenario."
The software, which was purchased on a sole source bid for $22,900.
"They (officers) encounter things where lives of the public may be in danger, where their own life may be in danger, so to have some actual training where they encounter these real life unexpected scenarios, ah..it prepares them and I think it’s very worth the investment," said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.
The software for the system comes with over 600 scenarios, and entails scenarios for multiple weapons including tasers, short and long guns, as well as pepper spray.
"When we’re doing training and we do real live training, it’s kind of hard to pull people that are not law enforcement to get them in there so the officer can see a different face, this is going to give them the opportunity to see a different face, a different environment, and also how to engage and how to protect themselves in those situation," said Myers Mitchell.
The training simulator can also be used by recruits that will train in the academy, or officers who may need more advanced help in certain fields.
"Not only are officers going to be able to engage in different training scenarios, it also gives officers a tool, that if they need some type of remedial training in firearms or different things that are able to come and use the simulator to get more enhanced, said Myers Mitchell.
"Our law enforcement officers encounter so many different situations when they go throughout their regular day, anything like this can benefit them greatly," said Barker.
Another positive note according to department officials, it saves time instead of working to shuffle training locations.
"Its very time effective as far as the officers are able to go through scenarios that we normally not able to go through in such a timely manner they are put in different situations, real live situations that they are able to respond to," said Myers Mitchell.
Scenarios include anything you can imagine Myers Mitchell said. Things from fights, patrols, pedestrians, assaults, bank robberies, etc.
"This piece of equipment gives officers a variety of scenarios to go through, there’s going to be scenarios in this module that we don’t see every day….a lot of times we come to work, we kind of do some of the same things every day but this will take us out of that comfort zone and that element of surprise and give us different scenarios that we can train for just in case we are in those situations," said Myers Mitchell.