On the afternoon of August 14, Philadelphia police came to the Nicetown neighborhood to serve a narcotics warrant. This relatively routine task “went awry almost immediately,” according to Police Commissioner Richard Ross. The suspect opened fire. Two officers were trapped inside, along with three civilians—and would remain trapped indoors for five hours, as the firefight stretched on. In the end, the standoff lasted eight hours and involved dozens of officers, six of whom were shot (although none sustained life-threatening injuries). Against all odds, the suspect ultimately surrendered—a turn of events District Attorney Lawrence S. Krasner credited to “brilliant policing.”
Custom Active Shooter Training
This active shooter situation was nothing short of a worst-case scenario: The gunman was well-armed, had a history of violence, and barricaded himself in a densely populated residential neighborhood. There were two daycare centers within two blocks of the firefight. Officers needed to evacuate roughly 80 children and babies in this “war zone.”
As Commissioner Ross told the Washington Post, “[It is] nothing short of astounding that in such of a confined space we didn’t have more of a tragedy than we did.”
In situations like this, it is always the case that fortune favors the prepared mind. Any scenario-based immersive training simulator can prepare officers to make split-second shoot/don’t shoot decisions. But it takes custom scenarios to capture the unique challenges posed by your local area, buildings styles, living situations, and cultural differences.
“This is why we support so many agencies in developing their own custom immersive scenarios,” explains Rob McCue, MILO Range Training Systems General Manager. “A custom scenario—designed and filmed with input and guidance from local law enforcement and mental health professionals—allows for the complexity and stress of large events, ones involving many potential victims. And working through that scenario when it is familiar—in buildings you recognize, with people who look like the members of your community—triggers an authentic emotional response. It prepares officers to see, process, and move on with their job—to be as effective as possible at the moment. Because officers need to be prepared for that, not just intellectually and tactically, but emotionally.”
Every simulation training system on the market includes active shooter training for law enforcement. But every community in America is different. That’s why our team at MILO Studios (a leader in producing custom branching immersive simulation training scenarios) has released its guide to “Training with Impact,” creating your own custom scenarios. When you write the script, you can be sure every one of your training objectives is met—and every face of your community represented.