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Simulator Fires Back

By David Campbell, Doylestown Patriot

Sgt. Dean Logan of the Doylestown Township Police Department brandished his sidearm.

The suspect, a few feet away, did the same.

Soon thereafter, both men exchanged fire. "Bullets" filled the room.

The suspect took numerous shots to his upper body; Logan made it out unharmed.

Strangely, Logan wasn''t the only police officer trading "bullets" with suspected criminals on that day. Similar scenarios played out for nearly an hour in a 30-by-12 foot room at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology in Jamison. In this case, the suspects weren''t even real-life criminals; they were computer-generated images. And the objects raining down on Bucks County police officers weren''t bullets; they were plastic balls.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Advanced Interactive Systems of Seattle, Wash., in collaboration with the National Tactical Officers Association in Doylestown and the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology, unveiled its high-tech public safety simulator to the Bucks County community at MBIT August 25, 2002.

The PRISim L1000 simulator can simulate more than 300 real-life scenarios. However, what separates the PRISim L1000 from its predecessors is its ability to fire back at trainees.

The $100,000 simulator helps train and measure responses to threats and situations that may test use-of-force responses or teach negotiations and communication skills. "Our partnership with AIS delivers the best possible tools for training in high-risk environments that involve life-threatening decisions," said Larry Glick, executive director of the NTOA, a non-profit professional police organization that has trained more than 25,000 police officers since 1997.

"We look forward to working with AIS and MBIT and the local law enforcement community to enhance their training and effectiveness."

The NTOA said it will use the simulator for its high-risk patrol and tactical training programs, and the MBIT will employ the technology to train adults in evening public safety programs. The three partners will make the simulator available to local police departments to train their officers at no cost.

According to AIS president and CEO Tim May, the most recent partnership extends a longer-term arrangement with the leading non-profit association that provides training and information to police tactical teams.

"AIS and the NTOA partnered in training 26,000 airport baggage screeners in explosive detection for the Transportation Safety Agency following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the U.S.," he said.

"Now we enter a new era in which we focus on local law enforcement education and training."

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