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One of the primary goals of any modern police force is to provide realistic, effective training that prepares officers for real-world situations. This is critically important not only for officer safety but also for maintaining public trust.
There are several different ways that police forces can achieve this goal. One particularly effective approach is situational role-playing, which is training designed to produce an authentic, safe and dynamic replication of the operational environment. This type of reality-based training is being quickly adopted by law enforcement agencies to help officers hone their skills and develop better judgment when faced with real-world situations.
“Unrealistic training leads to unrealistic expectations and unrealistic expectations are deadly on the street.” — Jeff Chudwin, NYPD
ACTION AND DECISION-MAKING UNDER STRESS
Ballistic training rounds and scenario-based training can test law enforcement officers in stressful and rapidly evolving situations that can span the entire use of force continuum. Stress on the trainee can be increased through the actions of role players and through the perceived potential for pain if shot with a ballistic training round.
Ballistic training rounds, while remaining non-lethal, are painful to be struck with and can leave welts or break the skin. This potential for pain further drives the effectiveness of the training because the fear of getting hit with a ballistic training round can influence police officers to change their tactics and exhibit behaviors they may not otherwise show in a more controlled environment.
When adrenaline is up and officers are being brought into these simulated encounters, weaknesses in training are quickly exposed. Skills that are not conditioned to the level of unconscious proficiency are revealed, and in the end, this pressure results in a much more effective and applicable training experience.
MAXIMIZING YOUR TRAINING TIME
Research shows that the use of simulated situations – as opposed to lectures or other traditional forms of instruction, which often rely on officers reading from written materials – is more likely to result in improved performance. This is because it requires officers to problem-solve and respond quickly under pressure, testing their response times and decision-making skills in high-pressure situations.
The responses elicited from this type of training are invaluable because, in addition to nakedly revealing weaknesses, they provide an element of stress inoculation for the participants. It also provides trainers the opportunity to provide a more accurate assessment of what future training may be needed to enhance officer performance and protect the department from liability.
Many police departments are now adapting scenario-based role-playing into their yearly training protocols with great effect. Trainers are continuing to make these scenarios bigger and more realistic, often bringing in neighboring police departments to rehearse collaboration efforts so that when reinforcements arrive, a game plan exists for coordination and communication.
Many agencies will also introduce elements of emergency trauma care training, like bleeding control and basic gunshot wound treatment for officers so that they can stabilize victims when the threat of the shooter is neutralized. In large city areas, some agencies are even going as far as including local fire and EMS teams to further extend the response coordination.
SAFE, YET STRESSFUL: PROTECTION PROTOCOLS AND STANDARDS
Stress induced by role players and the pain penalty of getting hit is part of the training realism, but the participants must be responsibly protected from any serious damage. The head, face and neck are specific areas that require full protection, both from projectiles and from bump impacts.
There have been many reports of serious injuries to police officers wearing insufficient training equipment, or undisciplined use of gear during force-on-force (FOF) training. Something as simple as lifting a visor to wipe away fog can (and has) resulted in permanent injuries – most commonly, loss of vision.
Equipment manufacturers like WARQ specialize in ballistic training ammunition head protection and have integrated a suite of features that keep the user protected and immersed during the training including:
- Anti-fog visor for strenuous training.
- Side vents in the helmet for improved hearing.
- Purpose-built for law enforcement - not a repurposed helmet.
- Wide field of view (210°) for exceptional situational awareness.
- Comfortable and adjustable (one size fits all).
- Made in Europe.
- Used for scenario-based training by law enforcement units around the world (such as in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and more).
- EN166A & CSA Z94.3-02 certified.
The WARQ Pro helmet is our recommendation for ballistic training head and neck protection. The helmet has been designed specifically for law enforcement use in training with marking rounds, simmunition and FOF ammunition. It is the first professional training helmet that offers complete protection with considerable anti-fog properties, allowing for intense training that simulates real-world situations with maximum protection for the user.
To learn more about the WARQ Pro training helmet, contact Rampart USA today.