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March 23, 2010
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LAPD unveils decision-making training system

HYDRA will help with terrorism and natural disaster preparations

By PoliceOne Staff

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department has announced a new training system that will guide commanding officers during national disasters and emergencies.

According to the LAPD press release, the state-of-the art training suite is “designed to test and hone decision-making skills in realistic critical-incident scenarios ranging from a terrorist attack to an earthquake.”

The high-tech simulator, known as HYDRA, is a series of computers that will train public safety responders to learn about the consequences of decisions during stressful situations. Command decisions are logged and can be reviewed an analyzed, according to an Associated Press report. Using computers, cameras and microphones, officers are able to coordinate responses to simulated emergencies in real-time.

"It's not a computer game," said police Sgt. Timothy Kalkus, the officer in charge of the system, during an AP interview. "It's what's in the minds of the decision-makers, how they collectively solve the problem."

HYDRA is located at the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center in Westchester and is one of only 50 of its kind in the world, and the first in the U.S., the LAPD announced. Police in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Australia use HYDRA, and the computers will give law enforcement common data on training scenarios.

Funding for the simulator was arranged by the Los Angeles Police Foundation with major contributions from Target Corporation and the Annenberg Foundation.

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