Deputies learn how to handle dangerous situations at use of force training

Training focused on one of the 'most complex issues in law enforcement'

By Paola Peralta - Digital Intern

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Sometimes law enforcement officers only have a split second to make critical decisions in dangerous situations.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department held a use of force training session Friday at the Valencia College School of Public Safety, where officers replicated realistic law enforcement scenarios using the VirTra V-300 simulator.

Capt. Todd Gardiner said the topic of use force is arguably one of the most complex issues in law enforcement. He said deputies will train on use of force past their time at the academy – it will follow them throughout their entire career.

“Law enforcement officers making very quick decisions often times with very minimal facts and in a situation that’s incredibly very stressful for them,” Gardiner said. 

The VirTra V-300 simulator is a 300-degree training platform where deputies are immersed in real-life scenarios using five 7-foot screens and surrounding speakers. Deputies are able to interact with the scenario by giving the suspects on screen commands.

The simulation tests marksmanship, situational awareness and threat assessment while utilizing stripped down models of real weapons that respond to the scenario on the screen.

The idea is to familiarize deputies with high-stakes scenarios to prepare them in advance. Gardiner said the common denominator among most use of force situations is that the law enforcement officer is responding to the subject’s resistance.

“They have not complied with that order now we are forced to respond to their level of resistance,” he said.

The 300-degree platform gives deputies multiple different dangerous scenarios where they have seconds to decide on a course of action. Sgt. Gregg Wynn said the real-life scenarios help deputies overcome making certain mistakes in the field – like firing a warning shot.

“This is a key learning point we sometimes have deputies will have these feelings about using deadly force,” Wynn said.  “And to overcome that, these scenarios are very helpful.”

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