Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Daniel Thompson
Reporter 

Kimball Police Train With MILO Simulation Programs

 


It starts in the stairwell of an office building with guns drawn. You charge up the stairs with other officers in tow. A gun shot thunders in the distance as screams start to swell, echoing throughout the hallway. With each step, the shots get louder, the screams more piercing. Your heart starts to race as you clench your gun trying to prepare for what horrors await you ahead.

As you approach the door, there’s a moment of calming silence before you turn to see a woman about to execute a hostage. You shoot the captor and as she falls, elation sets in to your muscles, your bones as she hits the floor with the hostage saved.

Just when you think it’s over, you see a quick flash out of the corner of your eye only to realize too late it wasn’t just one but two captors, and the screen goes red.

This is just one of the many simulations of the MILO training software used by the Kimball Police Department. The purpose of the simulations is to prepare officers for quick decisions that might have to be made while on duty, according to Kimball Police Chief Mark Simpson.

“We want them to have a real life understanding that decision making is just a second, and it’s between life and death. Our whole premise here is to teach them that they need to make the right decisions, make good decisions, evaluate quickly and make sure they overcome and go home safe,” Simpson said.

The system itself consists of a projector, a screen, a computer that contains the program with all of the simulations, and a machine that registers where the officer is firing their weapon on the screen.

“The machine reads where the hits are going. It’s three dimensional so you can have pinpoint accuracy on the screen,” Police Captain Darren Huff said.

The MILO training system consists of approximately 247 different scenarios which range from active shooter situations to drunk and disorderly situations and even covers off duty scenarios. The program also offers branching options designed to put the officer through a different set of events even when going through a simulation they have encountered before.

The different branching options are chosen by an instructor who sits at the computer as the officer goes through each simulation and has the ability to choose if the officer’s efforts are effective. In the example of a routine traffic stop, should a subject get out of the car before being prompted, the officer will be evaluated on the appropriateness of their choice of what level of force to use.

“The officer will say certain things, and the operator of the system will tell the system what he’s saying. If he draws down on the guy and the guy’s not showing his hands, the instructor may decide the man will comply and click comply and the guy will take his hands out of his pocket and comply. However, it could go in the other direction where the officer has not taken his gun out and the instructor perceives it as the officer’s not really seeing the subject as a threat and will have the man pull out a gun and shoot the officer,” Huff said.

The weapons used by officers in the training have been designed to weigh roughly the same amount and match the look of each model that officers carry while on duty.

“The only difference is they don’t have a firing pin. The sights work the same. It has removable magazines so the officer can practice reloads as well. The only unrealistic thing about these is they don’t cycle. They don’t give you a recoil,” Huff said.

According to Huff, the training is used by local law enforcement in order to give officers a feel for dangerous situations without first having to encounter such situations in the field.

“It puts you through dangerous situations without danger. There is a level of stress to this, because you have to interact. You really have to know what you’re going to do,” Huff said.

The system is owned by Western Nebraska Community College which lends it out to local law enforcement for training purposes.

“They get all the accolades for this stuff. They have a criminal justice program, and that is what it’s specifically for. They are gracious enough to allow law enforcement agencies to use this equipment,” Huff said.

 

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