Twin Falls Police do yearly training with new simulator

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) – All officers with the Twin Falls Police Department are going through what they call a block training for the next several weeks to brush up and refine their skills.

Det. Aaron Nay said they train for three days a week, for four weeks.

In each of those sessions, there is a group of about 15 to 20 officers.

Some of those training sessions include report writing, emergency vehicle operations, and firearm training.

“We constantly have to try and improve and maintain our skills within the police department,” Nay said.

He said it’s good practice for all types of officers to work together and share their skills.

“Sometimes in our job, our senior officers get too complacent, whereas the new guys sometimes are too by the book,” Nay explained. “So we get everybody together and go through those scenarios of showing them ‘Hey, this is what a senior officer’s catching, we need this’ or ‘This is what a new guy’s doing, let’s try and be a little more personable when we actually talk to people.'”

This year is the first time officers trained with a new simulator called Milo Range. The program is on three screens, immersing officers into situations they can see on a day-to-day basis. The one they trained on before this was dated back to 2007.

“The old one was just one screen. You just had a flat face screen that didn’t offer too much. Nothing close to 180 degrees or 360 degrees and that’s real life,” Nay explained. “We need officers that are not only looking at what’s in front of them but paying attention to their surroundings.”

Robert Storm, the director of the College of Southern Idaho Law Enforcement Academy, said getting the simulator was a group effort of three agencies.

“Between us, the Twin Falls Police Department and the Jerome Police Department, we were able to purchase the most technologically advanced shooting simulator in the state of Idaho,” Storm said.

The simulator is a big difference for Officer Brad Baisch.

“The new simulator’s great because it uses real actors instead of us having to act with each other,” he explained.

The program adjusts its outcome depending on how the officer responds.

“There’s a legitimate response that system will give them, so it helps with verbalization, it helps with de-escalation,” Nay explained.

So it could help make training seem a little more real.

“We have tasers we can use instead of saying taser with the old machine,” Baisch said.

While officers don’t actually deploy the tasers or firearms, the program will sense it.

“Talk about getting reps in and it’s simple as clearing a gun from a holster, we can save a little bit of money, whereas if we have to do all the dry runs at the range of draw, shoot, draw, shoot,” Nay explained.

There is even a camera recording the officers during the training, so instructors can go back and talk about how the event was handled.