Pueblo County Sheriff's Office unveils use of force simulator - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo County Sheriff's Office unveils use of force simulator

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It's a decision that happens in a matter of seconds.

The use of force is something the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office is training on now more than ever, now that the agency has open access to a state-of-the-art simulator.

The sheriff's office purchased the technology in late 2017 using a state firearms training grant. It's now fully ready to go, giving deputies the chance to train as often as they'd like.

"This system is essentially a computer with projects connected to it," said Captain Paul Toth, firearms instructor at the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office. "Just like you could have at a home theater, only this is on some steroids, I guess you could say."

This agency has had access to simulators in the past, but nothing as advanced as what it has now.

With three projector screens available, deputies get a real feel for what's possible in the field.

"The three screens allow us to give a little more of a realistic scenario to what the officer or deputy really has to address," Toth said.

An administrator selects a scenario that either one deputy or a team of deputies can work through together, like an armed robbery at a liquor store, or a possible carjacking. It's much more hands-on than traditional training.

With special cameras fixed on the screens, participants use a weapon that looks, feels and recoils just like a real weapon, but without live fire. Instead, it fires a laser to the screen that the cameras can pick up.

Now that the simulator is in-house, deputies can go through the simulator as often as they'd like. It's more efficient in terms of saving live ammunition, and with interactive video, the situations feel next to real.

"On the range, I can do different targets that are a threat or not a threat," Toth said. "But it's a paper target on a frame. So there's really no interaction. There's no decision-making to be made."

The simulator's manufacturer also sends new scenarios about every quarter, Toth said, to keep officers updated with present challenges facing law enforcement.

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