ST. ANN, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The police department in St. Ann has a new police training tool to better police and community interaction.
The department used $61,000 from seized drug money to pay for a simulator to train police with thousands of scenarios that feature the use of real weapons and real distractions.
"The point of this is to have the officer be able to look at the entire scenario and very quickly make a decision on what he needs to do," said Sergeant Jeff Tesdall of the St. Ann Police.
In the simulator, which is the first of its kind in Missouri, officers are sometimes forced to fire, other times not. In all scenarios, however, communication is key.
"In 20 years of my career I can tell you this is the most realistic thing that I've ever experienced," Chief Aaron Jimenez of the St. Ann Police said.
Training is paramount for Jimenez and his officers. In August, a St. Ann lieutenant was caught on camera pointing a gun at Ferguson protestors and threatening their lives.
“We could have had a scenario like this here where he could have been in an interaction with that and a crowd and protesting and maybe using this tool for that might have had him second guessing,” he said.
Jimenez says other departments will be invited to try the simulator as well as members of the public in an effort to promote better understanding in high stress situations.
“We get the opportunity of making mistakes in here but everybody knows you make a mistake on the street its lawsuit, suspensions, fired,” he said.