EDGEWOOD, Md. (WJZ)– Sherrif’s deputies in Harford County trained for the worst situations in a way that few departments do.
A new tool put officers in 250 virtual situations from active shooters to traffic stops.
Nightmares like the Las Vegas shooting on October 1, played out on the big screen in Harford County Wednesday.
“It can happen anywhere and we’re seeing it more and more across the country. We’re seeing the active shooters,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler.
The brand new VirTra simulator is a 300-degree, high tech laser display. The weapons pack air pressure and feel like the real thing.
The scenarios feel even more realistic.
An operator nearby can change story lines in an instant to keep deputies on their toes.
“This is stress and ‘oculation’ shooting. This is making officers make split second decisions,” Deputy Thomas Wherle said.
For nearly 300 deputies in Harford County, it’s a new way to train for the worst case scenario.
“I wanna make sure that we equip our deputies to be the very best men and women out there on the streets to have the skills to do this demanding job that’s asked of them,” Sheriff Gahler said.
Training with the simulator will be a money savings as opposed to training with live ammunition. The $350,000 machine was paid for entirely with money confiscated from drug dealers.
Sheriff Gahler said while it is not required training, all 300 officers will get the chance to use this simulator and practice.