PRESCOTT – Prescott Police Officer Corey Kasun receives a call about an active shooter at a local school. When he arrives on the scene, a response team is already in the building searching for the man.
As he goes down the hallways in his search, he sees a tip of a weapon around a corner but no person that carries it. He has to make a split second decision to either wait or to fire his gun as soon as that person shows up around the corner.
Kasun opts not to fire and that decision prevented him from hurting and/or killing one of his comrades.
Recently, all the Prescott Police officers went through Multiple Interactive Learning Objective (MILO) training, which is a computer-generated exercise that simulates real life situations in which officers could find themselves daily.
The program incorporates the officer’s reactions to the scenario he is seeing on a theater-size screen. He becomes a part of it. If the officer determines it is necessary for him or her to fire a gun – a Glock simulation gun with a laser beam – the screen will reflect that as well.
“Everything functions the same except it (the gun) won’t fire bullets,” Kasun said. “It has a laser system on it and it won’t make the noise.”
Also, an officer can use a flashlight when the screen is dark.
“It moves where you move it,” he said. “And it will show the scenario only in that specific zone where the light is sitting on.”
Officer Brian Dever said it just adds a touch of realism at nighttime “when we get calls of alarms and find open doors and we make entry. We can’t always find lights in the building. It just reinforces flashlight tactics and techniques.”
To make the exercise even closer to real-life scenarios, a shoot back canyon is a part of it. Officer Dever said that it reinforces the officers’ need to use some sort of cover to protect themselves.
Lt. Pete Hodap said that the MILO system is more interactive than the Firearm Training System (FATS) that the department used in the past to train its officers.
He said to stay certified the officers have to go through MILO or FATS once a year.
Kasun said that MILO is a pass or fail exercise.
“If an officer doesn’t treat it like a real-life situation and he doesn’t do what he supposed to do, then we don’t pass him,” Kasun said. “We would go then through remedial training with them, which includes a sit down session asking them why they did what they did.
“Then we’ll correct them verbally and show them correct tactics that we as a department want them to use and then we’ll rerun them through a similar scenario. We’ve never had anybody mess up twice.”
Kasun said the exercise also helps reinforce the department’s policies and procedures on the use of lethal force.
He said if a suspect has a knife in his hands, it would be inappropriate for an officer to use a taser, for example.
Kasun explained that an officer should use a lethal weapon against a lethal weapon. However, if a back up exists with lethal force, an officer then could handle the situation with a taser, for example.
Hodap said, “if a person with a knife is within 21 feet of you and your gun is in your holster, he or she can run … and stab you before you can get your gun out of the holster and defend yourself.”
Hodap called this assessment a “21-foot rule.”
He said by the time officers complete the police academy, they have a pretty good idea when it’s appropriate to use a lethal weapon and when it is not. He said the law also defines the use of deadly physical force.
“It says if somebody is using lethal force or threatening you with lethal force, you have the right to use lethal force to defend yourself or a third person,” Hodap said.
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