Phase 1: Isolation Skills Training
We begin with identifying the individual skills which will be required for successful, safe operation of vehicles by Law Enforcement and First Responders. Training in this phase isolates individual skills within single events, coupled with proper judgment and decision making repetition and recurrence in order to establish a “conditioned reaction” of individual fundamental skills. Many of these skills are not limited to just the operation of a vehicle, but also play an important role in the overall performance of one’s duties as a law enforcement officer.
FAAC scripts commonly associated with this level of training are identified as “Acclimation”, “Skill Builders”, “Scan and Assess”, “Mirror Checks”, “Situation Assessment”, “Radio Operation” and “Risk Recognition”.
Phase 2: Vehicle Operations Training
Phase 2 introduces the student/operator the next level of training that seeks to establish a “Sequential system” or “Sequential approach” to multi-faceted tasks required for the safe operation of a vehicle. The theory is based on sequencing of correct responses to lower the time and challenge of split-second decision making and judgment so the student response becomes more “conditioned” and less confrontational. Repeated practice within the simulator will result in smoother operation and reduced number of cognitive reactions.
Topics of training within this phase include lane changes, following distances, speed appreciation, road position, recognition of increased danger or risk and situational awareness while operating a vehicle. Along with “Communicative”, hand gestures, use of emergency equipment, vehicle pullovers, “Tactical Seatbelt”, “Combat Breathing”, voice control and stress recognition and response.
Phase 3: Emergency Response and Pursuit Training
In this Phase, the student can be challenged at a level that is most like actual “real world” vehicle operations with increased liability, greater risks and potentially stressful situations. Training opportunities include tactical vehicle operations, safe vehicle operations, teamwork, community considerations, strategic vehicle placement, communication responsibilities, policy and procedures, case law, state law and federal law, as well as proper decision making and judgment in high-speed, rapidly evolving and developing situations.
The overarching theme introduced at this level of vehicle operation is “A Controlled Response to a Crisis Situation” and the theory of “Managing” a situation rather than attempting to “Control” it.
Phase 4: The Driving Force
Phase 4 is the marrying of driving skills, field operations, and interactive skills. This is where the student will be presented with the opportunity to demonstrate their respect, understanding, and commitment to the safe and proper operation of the motor vehicle. This “test” is accomplished by combining the two basic challenges of “driving interaction” and “human interaction”. In many cases, Law Enforcement Officers, Deputies, Agents and First Responders tend to de-value the risk and responsibilities of safe vehicle operations for the excitement and compelling nature of interacting with humans in critical, dangerous and often stressful situations. Contemporary standards require student/operators to “de-escalate” situations they confront. The “De-escalation” sequencing commences with a controlled, professional and non-stressful driving response.
Transition between the two simulators can begin or end at either the Driving Simulator or the Force Options (human interaction) Simulator. A third level of training opportunity of “physical exertion” can be added to test and/or challenge a student’s ability to control their breathing, blood pressure and/or stress. This additional dimension of training further affords the student the opportunity to practice de-escalation, control, decision and judgment skills as well as demonstrate the skills required for a safe and successful “driving” and “human interaction” situation so often presented to law enforcement professionals.