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Pennsylvania Towns Receive High-Tech Active Shooter Training

Police are using simulations to prepare for a range of volatile and potentially dangerous situations, as well as to practice de-escalation techniques. This will enable officers to train in use-of-force scenarios.

by Jeff Horvath The Times-Tribune / August 13, 2019

(TNS) — A new training program will allow Scranton, Pa., and Dunmore, Pa., police to prepare for everything from an active shooter to an emotionally disturbed individual using realistic virtual simulations.

Scranton City Council recently approved legislation authorizing an agreement between the two departments to implement the training program, which uses a high-tech simulation system providing immersive training for officers. The system includes a variety of video scenarios and simulations displayed on high-definition screens that provide police a 300-degree field of vision during training — meaning the simulation scene surrounds the officer.

The simulations prepare police to deal with a range of volatile and potentially dangerous situations, practice de-escalation techniques and more. It also will enable officers to train in “shoot and don’t shoot situations” and other use-of-force scenarios, preparing them to use appropriate judgment when confronting a real-life situation, Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said.

“Without this technology, you really can’t train for that,” Graziano said. “It’s as realistic as you can get.”

Dunmore police applied for a $50,000 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Justice Assistant Grant to purchase the training system, with Scranton police providing the $48,160 cash match. The departments were notified they got the grant, Graziano said.

Scranton’s matching funds will be paid from the 2020 police capital budget, Councilman Bill Gaughan said, noting the department won’t have to buy bullet-resistent vests next year as it has in recent years.

Scranton police will house the training system at the former Serrenti Memorial Army Reserve Center on Colfax Avenue. Members of the department’s training division will first be trained as instructors and should be ready to begin training other officers within five months of the system’s arrival, according to a project description.

All Scranton and Dunmore patrol officers will go through one set of training scenarios, while school resource officers, the crisis intervention team and the special operations group will go through additional specialized trainings.

The project description describes the system as a regional asset because Dunmore and Scranton police will assist any law enforcement agency willing to be trained.

Attempts to reach Dunmore Police Chief Sal Marchese were unsuccessful.

©2019 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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