In Brentwood, 'live' training simulation for deadly threats
With his gun drawn, Brentwood police Sgt. H.D. Wood IV orders the man to put the knife down. He wants a peaceful ending.
The incident appears to be over, but seconds later the man lifts his shirt and begins to whip out a gun.
Realizing there's a new threat, Wood has to make a split-second decision. He fires at the man.
The mobile range is a fully self-contained, unmarked 48-foot trailer provided by Blue Line Corp. of Sudbury, Mass., that offers live fire judgmental scenario training where officers fire live rounds at a scenario projected onto a thick paper screen.
Close to the real thing
"This is the closest you can get to the real thing," Brentwood police Officer Brett Wells said.
The trailer travels to police departments around New England, but Monday's visit to Brentwood was the first time it was used in New Hampshire.
"Some of these scenarios are very judgmental as to whether the officers fire at what they saw at that immediate moment. It could be a threat where a gun is coming up and then the person puts the gun down. It's your call as to when you shoot, if you shoot, but this gives officers that vital part of judgmental stuff which is hard to get when you're outside at a range and you have a static target that doesn't move," said Jerry Tilbor, operations manager for Blue Line Corp.
Wood said police have always had firearms training where officers shoot at still targets, but this was different.
He said the live interaction training he received Monday was unlike anything he's experienced in his 21 years in law enforcement.
"Things are happening, and they're live, but you have to issue voice commands and you have to make a split-second decision if you see a firearm or if there is no firearm. There's movement on the screen that you have to follow. It's a completely interactive situation, and you're firing live rounds in these situations. You're getting the recoil of your firearm. You're getting the muzzle flash, and you're getting the sound, which is the best thing you can get because that's exactly what happens," Wood said.
The training simulated many of the situations police face on the road with no light, low light, flashlights, cruiser lights and sirens.
The scenario involving the school shooter was fresh in the minds of Brentwood police who responded to an incident at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston in September after receiving a report of an armed man at the school. He was gone by the time police arrived and was later arrested, but officers didn't know what they might face when they arrived.