Police Simulator Could Help Save Lives

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It has been two years since the fatal Mark Barmore shooting and ever since the incident the Rockford Police Department has altered its deadly force training.

Many are calling it the future of law enforcement: this isn't a movie or a video game--it's a 50-thousand dollar training system that some say could save a Rockford Police Officer's life.

Rockford Police Dept. Deputy Chief Dave Hopkins said, ”The more we can put officers in to that use of force situation where they have to meet split second decisions, the better they will make the decisions."

The RPD is waiting on the city council's approval to purchase a deadly force simulator. It's an electronic training system that places officers in real life scenarios like the one seen here.

Hopkins said, "When your first put into a very tense situation, your heart beat is not controlled, your breathing and you under a lot of stress, and the more we can put in officer into those situations, the better they are going to handle the situations and the better they will make decisions when the use of force occurs"

The device is so real, if an officer uses a flash-light the on screen-suspect's eyes will actually squint. The idea for a simulator is just one of more than 27 recommendations given to the department since two Rockford Police officers shot and killed Mark Barmore in 2009.

Hopkins said, "The simulation that we are looking at takes everything in, from your presence to the way you speak to people, to batons, to sprays and tasers."

Those are all weapons an officer knows how to handle in a deadly situation.

The 50-thousand dollar simulator will be purchased with a portion of federal grant money and forfeiter money picked up from crime scenes..

The city's finance and personnel committee is reviewing the item at this hour.

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