Danville police utilize simulation training for quick, effective response

While using the simulator, officers are put in real-life scenarios

The Danville Police Department's 'Pass the Perspective' event gives citizens a behind-the-scenes look at officer training

DANVILLE, Va. – For law enforcement, making split-second decisions in life-or-death scenarios comes with the territory. That’s why the Danville Police Department is using the MILO simulator as a crucial part of their initial and remedial training.

“You walk through it once, it’s very difficult to even hit a target under those stressful situations. And in that split second the decision to shoot or don’t shoot, that’s the first question,” said Sgt. Evan Wilson.

While using the simulator, officers are put in real-life scenarios like a traffic stop or a domestic violence call.

The goal is for the officers to learn how to quickly de-escalate the situation and respond properly. Each outcome differs and the trainer has the opportunity to analyze the officers’ response afterward.

“When they’re exposed to situations like this they can see very quickly how to succeed and not succeed or what is a good behavior and what is a bad behavior,” said Capt. Steve Richardson.

The trainers gave citizens and media an opportunity to try out the simulator themselves, including 10 News Photographer, Paul.

“Then it was my turn. I had a traffic stop scenario, and let’s just say, it didn’t go well,” Paul said.

“Luckily this was a training scenario and you’re still here with us to ask questions, otherwise, yeah it’s a sad day,” said Richardson.

The MILO simulator is part of a bigger Danville Police Department initiative, “Pass the Perspective.” It helps give the community insight into the difficult decisions officers often face. It also allows police to get input from the community on how they can grow together.

“When we do exchanges like this when there’s an opportunity for the public to speak to us and we have an opportunity to speak to the public in a non-enforcement capacity, we all learn,” said Wilson.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.