in a matter of seconds, forcing decisions and testing judgment. Once the trainee leaves the session, a similar real-life situation will no longer seem foreign. The trainee will act calmly and with proper judgment. The decision-making skills are built through the interactive experience."

Pros and Cons

Scenario-based exercises in active-shooter training create a sense of realism difficult to create in any other training format, Nichols said, adding that force-on-force training -- when conducted safely and properly -- provides for some of the most realistic and valuable training for law enforcement.

"This type of training provides instructors with the opportunity to place students under high levels of stress in a controlled environment, where the instructors can observe and evaluate the student's performance under stress," Nichols said. "By repeatedly exposing students to the stress and stimulus during these scenarios, instructors attempt to create 'stress inoculation' in each student with the goal of conditioning the proper response to an identified stimulus."

The Range 3000 XP4's base price is $44,000, Otte said, and the system is custom built based on the purchasing agency's individual training needs. A fully optioned system can run up to $100,000.

The return on investment is allowing the trainee to make his or her mistakes in the training room, not out on the street in a real life situation.

"This is where you can learn from these mistakes and make adjustments to policy, procedure and skills application, and no one gets hurt," Otte said. "Mistakes on the street cost lives, ruin careers and cost government agencies millions of dollars a year in lawsuits. To a law enforcement administrator, a trainer, a risk management officer, the return on investment is obvious. Simulation training saves lives."

Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor