Last Thursday night, the Bristol Police Dept. began the first of its 10-week simulated training program which aims to help those taking part to better understand the intricacies of law enforcement.
It’s advantageous to know what’s going on in the community for a variety of reasons. From a law enforcement perspective, informing the citizens through classroom training is another step forward.
Last Thursday night, the Bristol Police Dept. began the first of its 10-week simulated training program which hopefully will help those taking part to better understand the intricacies of law enforcement and how citizens can prepare themselves for any and all domestic situations.
Thanks to the efforts of Bristol Police Sgt. Ricardo Mourato, director of the Firearms Training System (FATS) Simulation program, local citizens can become better prepared in times of an unexpected crisis.
According to Sgt. Mourato, “Simulator training is a method of training that places an officer in scenarios that test and train their ability to judge, reason and, depending on the situation. shoot. With the FATS system, officers are issued a fully functional non-weapon, flashlight, and OC spray which utilizes a laser that records the weapons interaction on the screen. The FATS system contains a library of interactive DVDs which play out scenes and life-like situations which, depending on the officer's action or reaction, can result in the suspect submitting to arrest, resist arrest, or bring on a deadly force situation. The unit is run by a training officer who chooses which way the situation will develop. This training is as close to real life as can be accomplished without injuring the suspect or officer.”
The FATS system is, essentially, an interactive, scenario based, indoor, decision-making virtual firing range.
Sgt. Mourato, the Bristol Police Dept. Accreditation Supervisor for Planning & Research, said last Thursday night’s class “was the first Citizen’s Academy in a few years and the largest we have ever had.”
He continued, “The reason for conducting this program is our continued efforts in improving partnerships with police and community. Hopefully after 10 weeks, the participants will have a better understanding of their police department and service provided. They will also have an understanding as to how and why law enforcement responds to and handles a variety of situations.”
Assisting Sgt. Mourato last week were BPD Lt. Steven St. Pierre and Officer John Mlynek, each of whom clearly spelled out the intricacies of dealing with crisis situations. Those attending the class seemed very interested in what was going on and anxious for the next class on Thursday evening.
Police Chief Kevin Lynch has been a great advocate of the FATS simulation program.
“The Fire Arms Training Systems Inc.'s audiovisual shooting simulator (FATS) is an exceptional training tool for police officers and an even better barometer for the public to see first-hand the challenges and complexities officers face in active threat situations,” he noted. “The simulator program has a plethora of scenarios of active situations that require a user to test their reaction to situations. Notably, not every situation requires and officer/citizen to utilize deadly force. What is amazing is when civilian personnel go through a simulator exercise and are told that they must act like a police officer, the potential to save human life which exists is extraordinary and eye-opening for the participant. It truly challenges a person to think, react, and process the events. No doubt it’s emotional.”
He concluded, “I think every person that goes through the paces has newfound respect for the work of police officers. It’s something that I encourage our officers to complete regularly as part of their on-going in-service training to deliver the highest level of service to the residents of Bristol.”
From a woman’s point of view, local resident Carol S. Ferro says she is so happy she joined this training group.
"In my observation last week of experiencing the firearms training simulator, I found it quite fascinating,” she said. “The instructors/officers were fully trained and knowledgeable and knew what they were doing."
According to Sgt. Mourato, there is the possibility that another class will be held this coming fall. An announcement will be made at a later date.