Police officers in the Town of Williamston are getting intensive training that includes teaching options for avoiding use of force in dangerous situations.
This “response to resistance training” will use an interactive simulator that uses computerized scenarios to imitate use-of-force and verbal de-escalation encounters.
Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor said, “Courts have ruled that law enforcement officers must have “use of force” or “response to resistance” training.”
The simulator uses more than 500 pre-loaded scenarios that project onto a life-sized screen, allowing officers to respond with the appropriate levels of force. The scenarios are embedded with videos, policy statements, and legal talking points to improve officers’ decision-making skills. In addition, most of the scenarios can be customized for specific training objectives.
“The training stresses response-to-resistance options and involves using voice commands to de-escalate a potentially violent situation,” Chief Taylor said. “Part of the training also focuses on the appropriate use of force, including officer presence and use of batons, electronic control devices, pistols, rifles, and chemical agents.”
The scenarios also include examples of domestic violence encounters, traffic stops, emotionally disturbed individuals, high-risk encounters, and “no force required” community contacts.
Several members of Envision Williamston and Williamston Town Council found out what it is like to be a police officer responding to a call when they participated in the firearms simulation training exercise Monday evening.
Roberta Hamby Envision Williamston Interim Director, Carolann Newton PBA president, Dr. Marion Williams, Envision Williamston Board Member, Matthew Williams, David Meade Editor of The Journal, Councilman Tony Hagood, Councilman Chris Alexander and Mayor Rockey Burgess all participated in the interactive simulation presented by the Williamston Police Department.
Lt. L. B. Culbertson ran the simulation and offered feedback to each of the participants.
All agreed that they were not cut out to be police officers, though the exercise did show them that a split second decision about whether or not to use deadly force could jeopardize their lives, or the lives of a suspect.
“I couldn’t be in law enforcement,” said Roberta Hamby. “There is no way I could do that job.”
Chief Taylor added that “the decisions officers have to make in response to how a subject reacts must be done in a matter of seconds. It definitely show the importance of training.”
Councilman Hagood said, “I will stick to concrete, TTI and mortuary work.”
Meade said the training exercise “really gets the adrenaline going and shows how quickly officers must make a decision on how to handle a situation and when to use their weapon.”
Taylor said the firearms training simulator was provided through the SC Municipal Association to help reduce liability. “We have to train our people,” he said. “Lt. Culbertson is certified in training officers in how to deal with de-escalation and use of force.”
The training is part of the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s two self-funded insurance programs, the SC Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund (property and liability) and the SC Municipal Insurance Trust (workers’ compensation).
Featured Photo – Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor explains situations officers may find themselves in and how the interactive training works. Members of Envision Williamston and Williamston Town Council were offered the opportunity to participated in the simulated training exercise.