LUBBOCK, TX - The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office is training for stressful scenarios out on the streets with the Law Enforcement Driving Simulator.
It may look like fun and games at first, but Sheriff Kelly Rowe said this simulator lets officers experience real world variables, like pedestrians, other traffic and unexpected weather conditions...sirens and all.
“There's a lot of uncontrollable issues out there,” Sheriff Kelly Rowe said. “Once the decision is made that a pursuit is necessary, we need our guys to operate as safe as they possibly can considering all of those hazards and concerns."
The Texas Association of Counties simulator travels county to county, and the Sheriff said they come to Lubbock about once a year. Every officer with access to a Lubbock fleet vehicle has to go through the training.
"I get young deputies who do that instinctive thing,” Simulator Training Consultant Don Courtney said. “They are on the chase with the lights and sirens, and the adrenaline flow. Therefore, they go right through intersections, and that's where they end up getting in trouble."
Courtney said accidents have gone down in counties after the training, saving potential tax dollars from wrecked patrol units, and keeping everyone safe.
"It just shows that the training is as realistic as you can get it, without actually getting out there,” Don Courtney said.
The Sheriff said they used to train with cones in a parking lot, but the technology gives the officers an even better learning environment.
"What you didn't have a lot of times in those situations was all of the real world things such as pedestrians, other vehicles,” Rowe said. "What this does, as you can see, is give us the opportunity to be able to replay, see some things we couldn't see in real-time, to be able to go back, critique and improve."
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