Residents try out police encounter simulation - WNEM TV 5

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Residents try out police encounter simulation

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Police said it’s difficult to put into words how intense an encounter with a suspect can be, so they invited some residents to get an inside look using a state-of-the-art virtual simulation.

Saginaw Police Chief Robert Ruth said he knows that citizens may not understand what's going through an officer's mind at a when confronted with danger.

"That's why we have to train our officers to look for those fertive gestures... the certain movements, when they turn their body and it looks like they're reaching for their weapon," Ruth said.

Larry Campbell said the experience gave him newfound respect for officers.

"They're putting their lives on the line everyday... they do not know what kind of situation is going to come before them," Campbell said.

That's exactly what this simulator tries to do: replicate an endless amount of possibilities officers encounter.

The instructor-controlled simulator inside the VA hospital in Saginaw is being called the closest thing to a real life encounter. An officer may be faced with a gun, a knife or someone suffering from mental health issues.

"The instructor can make it so the suspect complies... or they can make it so they don't comply and they have to go through intermediate or deadly force," said VA Police Chief Nicholas Amen.

Amen said this simulator is critical training every officer should have. Although he admits there is nothing like a real life encounter, the virtual trainer may be the closest thing to it.

Ruth said that at the end of day, officers want citizens and police to go home safely at the end of the day.

"They have families too... they just want to go home to their loved ones," Ruth said.

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