COLORADO SPRINGS — On Tuesday, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office held a simulated reality-based training session. The law enforcement agency hopes that its industry-leading model of training sets an example for the rest of the state.
Reality-based training is a combination of virtual and in-the-field scenarios that simulate what actual situations the Sheriff's Office handles. Trainers hope to get recruits out of their seats and into their own heads.
"What we've found as far as police training goes, it's one thing to sit in a classroom and go over 'hey, this is what you should do', it's another thing to add the stress by being involved in a reality-based scenario," says Keenan Dukes, Deputy Trainer.
Dukes wants these training simulations to feel like the real thing for recruits. The Office wants to set "blueprints" in the minds of trainees for how they should act in real-world situations.
The reality-based training simulation that happened today involved a suspect that was pretending to not hear warnings from the sheriff before drawing his weapon. Even though the guns are using rounds with paint, it can still feel very real.
Deputy Recruit Joshua Perez was in the military before he decided to join the Sheriff's office. He's enjoyed his training in the classroom but thinks that the experience he gets in reality-based training is irreplaceable.
"Some of the scenarios, you don't need to rush into. And that's also what it's training us to do, to not run out and force everything. You've gotta think more tactically with each thing," says Perez.
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