NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — With the help of ECPI University, Newport News police are taking use-of-force training to a whole new level.
“It feels like a toy, and you’re just pulling a trigger,” Sergeant Brad Churchill said. “I think the benefit of this new system is immeasurable.”
Police say it is no toy. It’s technology helping them prepare for real-life scenarios.
ECPI bought a MILO Range system for its criminal justice program. It comes with hundreds of video scenarios, and the person using it uses guns with lasers and has to decide if the use of force is needed. School staff decided to offer the technology to local police.
The system is designed as another training tool in the department’s arsenal. Officers can run through calls ranging from traffic stops to burglaries. Training officers can manipulate the outcome. Soon, all Newport News officers will work with the technology.
“We can take a real-life situation that we have encountered on the street and reenact it multiple different ways,” Churchill said. “We can then train on that exact real-life scenario that somebody in our department experienced.”
The situations can be life or death. Officers have to make that split-second decision. Ideally, officers never want to fire. The hope is to have each suspect comply.
“We are reiterating, as long as you’re calm and you’re verbalizing what you want them to do majority of the time, they will be compliant,” Churchill said. “Through training, we give the skills to make those decisions.”
ECPI University also shares the MILO Range system with officers in Hampton and York-Poquoson. The same technology is also at the school’s Virginia Beach campus, where city police use it, too.