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Shoot, don’t shoot training sharpens police skills

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Albany Police officer Aaron Davis approached a jumble of cars in a lot in the midday sun on Friday. He was on a “shots fired” call, so his gun was drawn. He keyed in on the open driver door on a truck. When a man emerged from the truck, Davis raised his weapon and shouted, “Albany Police! Hands in the air now!”

The man instead darted behind a car and crouched. Davis shifted to the left and fired three shots, dropping the suspect as he raised a pistol.

It all happened in the meeting room at the Albany Police department, on a giant screen. Davis was demonstrating an interactive simulator that lets officers practice assessing and reacting to various situations.

The simulator, called a Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives, or Milo range, puts officers in live action scenarios, requiring them to make decisions whether to shoot, not shoot, or use nonlethal options to neutralize a suspect. After each simulation, they discuss with firearms instructors what they saw and why they reacted the way they did. The goal is to fine tune the reaction time, situational awareness, and split-second decision making that defines almost every call for service to which an officer responds.

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