From tragedy to training: Simulator purchased as part of Sgt. Sean Gannon facility puts officers into real-life scenarios to hone their skills

The people on the screen were actors, but the scenarios played out in the basement of the Yarmouth Police Department were very much situations any police officer could encounter.

As the landscape of policing the country continues to evolve, so too must police.

Officers Brian Niezgoda and Rick Aprea stood in front of the MILO Range simulator recently with two light guns – created to simulate their police-issued weapons – in their hands.

A scenario began to unfold on the screen before them. The officers begin to search inside a building. “I hear gunshots,” the officers say.As the virtual scene continues to unfold, more gunshots are heard. The two officers, guns drawn, move around the simulation room as they access the situation.Two armed suspects appear on the scene. They are holding a hostage. The officers fire their simulated weapons. Both suspects fall to the ground. The scenario ends.Lt. Andrew O’Malley immediately asks the officers what the primary objective is in an active shooter incident. The answer is given quickly, end the violence. During the debriefing, O’Malley reminds the officers of the “Plus One” rule in an active shooter situation. “When we put down the first shooter, we can’t relax ourselves. We understand there are always dangers,” he said.

The MILO – Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives – system, one of a handful in the state inside individual police departments including Worcester, allows for Yarmouth police to run through 600 or more different virtual situations. The $58,000 system was purchased last year by the Yarmouth Police Foundation and is just a piece of a $1.2 million Sgt. Sean M. Gannon K-9/Police Officer Training Facility that will be constructed on the Yarmouth Police Department ground.

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Scott J. Croteau, Mass Live April 11, 2019