A look behind Surprise PD's ultra-realistic similator - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

A look behind Surprise PD's ultra-realistic use of force simulator

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Ofc. Craig Scartozzi trains using the simulator. Ofc. Craig Scartozzi trains using the simulator.
Ofc. Tim Schmit can control the system to create different outcomes. Ofc. Tim Schmit can control the system to create different outcomes.
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SURPRISE, AZ (CBS5) -

The police dash camera videos are shocking. They often show extremely dangerous situations police officers must be prepared to handle. Those real-life situations are extremely similar to state mandated training scenarios every Arizona officer must complete.

"It's basically just a judgmental shoot. It's not just about shooting, but about using different uses of force and training officers in verbal communications," explained Surprise Police Officer Tim Schmit, an instructor for the department's MILO (Military Integrated Laser Operation) system.

"It's going to be very similar to what you'll see calls for service out on the street," he continued.

The MILO system recreates more than 500 realistic situations officers may face, from car pullovers, domestic violence calls, even hostage situations.

"It's going to be very similar to what you'll see calls for service out on the street. They're going to be cussing. They're going to be screaming. They're going to be waving their hands. They're going to be doing different things that the officer is going to react to," explained Schmit. 

Thursday, Surprise police allowed CBS 5 to sit in on the training. Officer Craig Scartozzi went through many different scenarios. In some, the situation called for deadly force. In others, he was able to talk the suspect out of a dangerous situation.

"You need to get out of your vehicle. Do it now!" he yelled at one suspect.

All the while, Schmit closely watches the officer and can alter the outcome of the situation based of the officer's commands and actions. If a Tazer or handgun is discharged, the system can determine where and if the suspect was hit.

"From the system on my end, I can branch off on several different outcomes. If I want it to be a comply situation, I can have the screen or the suspect comply with the officer. It can turn into a less lethal situation," said Schmit.

Surprise police say the most important benefit to this training is that it is entirely self-contained. If a mistake is made, no one is hurt.

"We have to react within a split-second on whether to use deadly force or not to use deadly force. This sharpens our skills and hones them," said Schmit.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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