Police recruits in St. Charles Co. undergo new 'shoot or don't s - KMOV.com

Police recruits in St. Charles Co. undergo new 'shoot or don't shoot' training

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Police recruits undergo 'shoot, don't shoot training' (Credit: KMOV) Police recruits undergo 'shoot, don't shoot training' (Credit: KMOV)

When a police officer puts on their badge for a shift, they have no idea what the day will have in store. Within the last week, the Eastern Missouri Police Academy, based at St. Charles Community College, started using new technology that will help prepare officers-in-training for almost any situation.

"It's an electronic shooting system," said Dr. Thomas Leasor, Executive Director at the Eastern Missouri Police Academy. "Critical decisions are something they will have to encounter daily. To prepare them in as realistic situations as possible, causing them to critically think, this is the best way to do it."

Recruits wear a belt equipped with a fake gun that has a CO2 cartridge, so they can feel the recoil, a Taser, baton, flashlight, and all the other tools they will have once they are officially an officer. An instructor is running the computer that projects a scenario onto a screen. The instructor can adjust the scenario in real-time, depending on how the recruit is reacting. For example, the instructor decides if the subject in the video pulls out his I.D. or a gun.

WATCH: Before the recruits used it, academy leaders invited News 4's Paige Hulsey to try out the electronic shooting system

"It causes them to encompass a lot of things, tactical communication, good critical thinking, and again in a worst case scenario, target and sight acquisition for discharge of a weapon," said Leasor. "This provides real critiques, as far as where their shots went, how they communicated, timing, how long to discharge weapon in lethal force encounter. And in many instances, the situation is diffused based on their communication."

The program has enhanced the curriculum from lecture-based to scenario-based. The system can even be updated with scenarios like ones that have made headlines and caused a stir around the country so recruits can understand why things unfolded the way they did or how they would react differently.

"It's been a surprise by recruits, simply how fast things can happen," said Leasor.

The system is similar to ones already being used by other police departments in the area for continued training but Leasor stressed the importance of his students being exposed to these scenarios before they ever step on the street as officers.

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