In today’s world of ever-increasing liability and safety concerns, it is imperative that we search for improved training ideas, methods, and products. As a Use of Force instructor since the mid-1990s, one of the training tools that I’ve come to depend heavily on is the crisis management training simulator manufactured by MILO Range Training Systems. The company is recognized by many law enforcement agencies, security companies, and military branches as the best-in-class firearms and use-of-force training systems available worldwide.
The MILO Range is loaded with almost a thousand “real life” training scenarios that compel officers, or “trainees”, to respond to in a controlled environment. This invaluable training tool allows the use-of-force instructor to dictate, or “branch”, which direction or path a scenario unfolds depending on how well the trainee is handling the specific scenario. It also allows the instructor to evaluate how well the trainee is employing sound tactics during a response to a life-threatening or high-stress situation. Is the trainee using the proper levels of force, or proper de-escalation techniques, good verbal communication, utilizing cover and concealment, using proper tactical judgment, etc.? The interactive ability allows for the trainee to dictate the direction and outcome of the scenario as well. Properly assessing that the situation may be tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving, the trainee has the ability to create distance, seek cover, then re-address the situation; further confirming that quite often time and distance are extremely important, and can be a lifesaver. By creating distance, and slowing a stressful situation down, the trainee might have time to reassess and re-evaluate, then consider alternative options such as waiting for back-up, and/or transitioning to a less lethal option if safe to do so.
TASER® compatibility with the MILO system is an important system feature and has emerged into an integral part of our TASER training program. The MILO Range Taser option offers the same degree spread that the real Taser cartridges provide. MILO offers complete training models (non-live) for the X26P and X2 with removable cartridges and XDPM power modules. Each Taser (ECW) device used on the system can be assigned and detected during scenario training events by each trainee. Specific pre-loaded scenarios can be selected that might not rise to the level of lethal force and may require the trainee to address the situation with less lethal options. With the constantly increasing challenge to develop realistic TASER training, we have found that a TASER-training capable simulator like the MILO Range is the answer for us. It creates a safe, cost-effective way, to get “hands-on” training while putting the trainee in high stress, dynamic scenarios, while continually evaluating the trainee’s ability to make sound decisions as the scenario unfolds. The system allows for additional trainees to participate in scenarios together, and is a great way for a multi-office approach to a situation, further strengthening partnerships. The multi-officer training scenarios are an ideal time to work on lethal- force cover during TASER deployments.
Our agency ends every scenario with a detailed trainee debrief and review of the scenario whether it involved lethal force, less than lethal force, or no force at all was used. This requires the trainee to articulate their actions, or non-actions, and whether their actions are taken to align with department policy. The debriefing period is a perfect time to discuss decision making by the trainee and to use constructive criticism to resolve any problems. As instructors, we should all strive to continually train hard and confine mistakes to a controlled environment like the training room. Given some of the costs and constraints to do relevant training with our TASER devices on a regular basis, we have found that simulators like the MILO Range system help us do that in a way that prepares officers for real-life situations.
Lt. Andy Engster has been employed with the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan for 28 years.
He is currently assigned as a patrol lieutenant, SRT commander, chief firearms instructor, police academy instructor, and a recent graduate of the FBI National Academy, session #273