RADFORD, Va. – Criminal justice students at Radford University are getting firsthand training on how to handle real-life situations when responding to police calls and they are using the MILO Range to do so.
The MILO use of force simulator is employed by law enforcement agencies and tactical organizations across the country.
More than a dozen students participated in hundreds of scenarios including de-escalation techniques that will help them understand the duties of a police officer in the Emergency Operations Center classroom Tuesday.
With their guns drawn, Charles Linkous and Patrice Malone, both seniors in their Critical Perspectives in Criminal Justice class, talks through a high stress situation where they must use de-escalation techniques. They were dispatched to handle a trespassing call for a person living in the woods.
"I guess he was camping out for a couple of days. And I wasn't sure what he was doing or what state he was in or if he was intoxicated," said Linkous.
Malone was a back up partner in this scenario.
"Watched to make sure nothing went wrong to make sure the guy didn't try to grab his weapon or if he had a weapon," said Malone.
Eventually, the students were able to convince the man to surrender without having to use their weapons or any force.
MILO gives hundreds of different scenarios where students decide the best way to respond to events in real time. Faculty member and instructor, Eric Snow says the system is different than what was used in the past.
"It may have simply been I don't shoot or shoot scenario. The students using this system have the option to use firearms, taser, or OC spray. The biggest difference is they also have the option to use their communication skills to attempt to escalate a situation," said Snow.
The hands-on approach also responds to verbal commands..
"Saw this as a learning process and we make mistakes and it's better to do it in the classroom before we get our careers," said Linkous.
The system was installed in classes this summer. The Radford University Police department will also use MILO to train their officers. The Radford University Police Department will also be using MILO to train their officers.