We had the opportunity to observe and participate in the current Texarkana Texas Police Department “Police Experience” program. With mock traffic stops, the Laser Sight “Judgement Training System”, and live fire exercises with simunition… this is NOT a run of the mill Citizen’s Police Academy, this is SO much more!
Lt. Shawn Vaughn invited us to participate in the final night of the program at the new Texarkana Texas Special Operations Training Center inside the old National Guard Armory near Spring Lake Park.
TTPD Press Release:
Unlike traditional citizen’s police academies that involve mostly lecture in a classroom, this five-week program allows participants to do hands activities to actually experience many of the things that police officers do. Participants will be doing target shooting with simunitions, traffic stops, and the firearms simulator at the SOTC. This has been our first session of the Policing Experience and there are plans to offer it again each quarter moving forward.
This first run of the program had 15 participants and we were able to observe and participate. When we arrived at S.O.T.C. the group was beginning judgment exercises with the Laser Sight firearms simulator. Officer Jonathon Price operates the system that runs participants through multiple scenarios, with officer Price having many options for the “perpetrators” behavior… the suspect may have a knife, a gun, just a bad attitude, or may comply with officer commands. The training is very intense as participants are in the line of fire as the system shoots back… hesitation or poor marksmanship means that the “officer” could be struck with a rubber projectile similar to an air-soft bb fired from a device to the side of the large screen. Firearms used in the training are actual Glock pistols that have been modified and use compressed air to create realistic function of the firearm with recoil, and semi-auto action. This opens up an amazing view of what police officers experience and just how fast bad things can happen and is very important in training officer judgment.
For me, I thought that the mock traffic stops were the most stressful. In this exercise, as an officer, you conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle with multiple occupants. T.T.P.D. officers portray the occupants of the vehicle and the stop can go smoothly without a hitch, but being that the program is to show the difficulties officers face, that’s not what happens. From suspects with knives and firearms to a driver that is just having a bad day, irate and difficult to deal with. This to me seemed the most stressful exercise of the night.
The live-fire exercise for the evening meant engaging multiple targets with a Glock pistol modified to fire “simunition”, a soap-ball type projectile that offers realistic training with consequences as the bullet definitely stings, much more so than a high-powered air-soft pellet.
The next “Police Experience Program” will take place after the holidays in 2017, and is open for all that wish to participate and have better insight to what our local Police officers experience every day. We think it is a fantastic training program and encourage everyone to get involved and live the T.T.P.D. “Police Experience.” For more information on the program, or to add your name to the list of participants for upcoming programs contact T.T.P.D. Public Information Officer Shawn Vaughn at 903-798-3114 and follow on the T.T.P.D. Facebook Page.