AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 53

Volume 6 CBP VirTra Virtual Firearms Training System Our officers have to think quickly. They have to exercise their hand-eye coordination and they have to engage that threat,” said Area Port Director Timothy Walker. “Whether that threat is a deadly force situation or not, we don’t know because we have different scenarios that we can run with the simulator. It is a truly a breakthrough in training technology.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations, hosted area media for a demonstration of the new Virtual Training simulator system on June 29. The system consists of a series of projection screens that circle around a small stage. Images are projected on the screens depicting fastpaced events involving active shooters or situations involving confrontations and standoffs. Officers enter the simulator with a full range of inert weapons, including pistols and rifles that fire electronic pulses. (Accurate marksmanship & appropriate use of force. For law enforcement personnel, these are the details that make the difference between safely resolving use of force encounters or making costly, tragic headlines. Research shows the best way to hone these skills is thru intense training in situations July-Aug 2016 Edition that include real stress. See how VirTra offers cost effective use-of-force training that improves public and officer training, courtesy of VirTra and YouTube) Local news media were briefed on CBP’s use-offorce policy and shown the duty weapons used by frontline officers: the H&K P2000 pistol, Colt M-4 semi-automatic rifle and Remington Model 870 12-gauge shotgun. A live demonstration of the Virtual Training simulator by two CBP officers quickly followed. The system has served CBP as an effective outreach tool. Reporters were then offered the chance to participate using various inert versions of the weapons, and apply use-of-force principles in several rapidlymoving, deadly force situations. Each participant left the session with a better understanding of the real life scenarios officers can face without warning. “Our officers have to think quickly. They have to exercise their hand-eye coordination and they have to engage that threat,” said Area Port Director Timothy Walker. “Whether that threat is a deadly force situation or not, we don’t know because we have different scenarios that we can run with the simulator. It is a truly a breakthrough in training technology.” (Learn More about VirTra on an episode of ‘Digital Justice’, courtesy of VirTra and YouTube) Since the $230,000 simulator was installed a year ago, CBP officers from Alexandria Bay, Ogdensburg, Massena and Trout River Ports of Entry have used the VirTra simulator to enhance firearms and less-than-lethal qualifications. The system has served CBP as an effective outreach tool. “Over this past year we’ve had Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, New York State Police, Canada Border Services Agency, Akwesasne Police, and the Jefferson County Sheriffs K-9 unit use the simulator”, said Massena Port Director 53