Officers are put through this Use of Force Simulator as part of the training done at the North Carolina Justice Academy. (Source: WECT)
New trainees are put through ten different courses to test their driving abilities at the North Carolina Justice Academy. (Source: WECT)
SAMPSON COUNTY, NC (WECT) -
Police departments, sheriff’s offices and other law enforcement agencies from across North Carolina send men and women to the small town of Salemburg in Sampson County. It is home to one of two campuses for the North Carolina Justice Academy, where experts in law enforcement work to better prepare officers to protect the public.
“We know that the better a law enforcement officer is trained, the better they are going to serve the people in their communities,” said Mark Strickland, the Director of the Justice Academy. “With curriculum that we develop, whether its basic training, or in-service training, every law enforcement officer, detention officer and telecommunicators who work for sheriffs, are impacted by what we do here in Salemberg and what we do in (the Justice Academy West Campus in) Edneyville.”
The newest piece of training equipment is a Use of Force Simulator. At a cost of more than $100,000, the interactive simulator can put an officer through thousands of realistic scenarios.
With an instructor manipulating the program to react to an officer’s commands or movements, the same video can take different turns, resulting in violent or peaceful conclusions.
Each session can be recorded and reviewed, allowing instructors to articulate where the officer acted properly and where mistakes were made.
The recent series of police-related shootings across the United States has focused more attention on the training of law enforcement officers, and the relationships between law enforcement and African-American communities.
The academy offers Juvenile Minority Sensitivity Training, which is updated annually and required for every officer in North Carolina.
“With the current media attention on law enforcement, we’ve got to step up our game,” Strickland said. “We’ve got to train in specific areas, and that’s what we’re doing across the entire state of North Carolina.”
See the simulator in action Monday night in Jon Evans' special report "Training for Trouble," Monday night on WECT News at 6.