Rockford Police training facility attracts regional attention

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It's a high-stress scenario based training that prepares Rockford Police officers for any situation. They go through it every year, but this year it’s different.

"We're going in! Get on him, get on him, get on him," officers yelled as they go through a simulation training.

The guns and knife aren't real, but the situation is. A man in distress, threatening to hurt himself or others, and it's up to Rockford police officers to de-escalate the situation.

"You have to treat it as if it's something real." Officer Ben Johnson said.

Just like on the streets each of these scenarios are different and now in a new training area at District 3 each room is different too.

"On subsequent runs if the officers encountered that, now we can change it up which is going to change their tactics somewhat so they have to adapt and overcome their experience from before so they can't game it so to speak and oh, I know how it’s going to look like. We don't want that to happen. We want them thinking all the time," Investigator Chris Aldrich explained.

The configurations of each room can change. Some also have furniture and closets that can move.

‘"It gives you a little bit of an unknown, it keeps you on your feet," Officer Johnson said.

It's a far cry from the old training facility inside the Public Safety Building which was just one room that didn't change. Officers say this is much more realistic.

"You never know from one house to the next if you go to a high rise it’s going to be different from a residence. No two residences are exactly alike so it’s good to not get locked into a preconceived notion of what you're walking into," Officer Eric Rohde said.

After each scenario officers then go over what they did right and what needs improvement.

In addition to that simunitions room officers also use a video simulator for some scenarios and have a mat room where they can do more physical training.

The department says because they have so much space and the special features of the training center it's attracted agencies from around the region to use it as well.