GROVE CITY, OH (WCMH) — Training Police Officers in a stressful scenario can make a big difference when they are faced with a real-life situation.
A new way to train law enforcement called STEP, the Scenario Training Equipment Program, could help when making split-second decisions on how much force and when to use it. Police officer trainers can be instructed to teach STEP in their own communities.
First, one officer is trained, like is now happening at the Grove City Police Department. That department can then borrow one of six free kits made up of training pistols, rifles, marking cartridges and protective gear along with role-player props, and train on their own scenarios.
A pilot program of training scenes have been produced and can be seen in a video story aired on NBC4.
“If you make a traffic stop and somebody jumps out of a car and runs towards you, you need to be prepared for that. If you have gone through scenario-based training, then you have the skill set to understand what is taking place and be able to react,” said Chief Jeff Pearson, with Grove City Police. One of his officers is being trained in the STEP program.
He said Grove City has 62 officers, 35 who are on patrol by themselves until help arrives.
“Where officers have to make split decisions, the more skilled you are in making those decisions, then the better prepared you are in having a successful outcome,” Pearson said.
The Attorney General Mike DeWine said, “what really started this was all the high-profile cases like Tamir Rice and Ferguson case and we started looking at those and saying what can we do to better equip and train our police officers, both to protect them, but also the public.”
“Going through the scenario-based training and using the equipment provided by the state you are able to practice what it is like going into that particular scenario,” Pearson said.
Officials said the idea is to train the trainers, making them a force multiplier. The first class is expected to begin in January.