Simulator to train Hartsville police how to avoid force

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HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The Hartsville Police Department will get “response to resistance” training on how to avoid using force with an interactive simulator.

The interactive simulator, a part of the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s insurance programs, imitates encounters with people in potentially violent situations with over 500 scenarios officers can train from.

“The simulator responds through instructor input to what the officers do, so the instructors can select how the actors on the video respond,” Lt. Mark Blair said.

To keep up with trends in law enforcement, Blair said the scenarios are constantly changing. Domestic violence, traffic stops, burglary and school shootings are just some of the scenarios.

Then, there are scenarios that require no force at all.

Blair said the department started using the simulator two years ago to train officers on encounters in a variety of situations.

“We want officers to use the least amount of force necessary to accomplish their lawful goals,” Blair said

The department is also inviting a select group of people like council members and civic groups to participate. Blair said this will allow the public to experience what it’s like to make those split-second decisions.

“In many of the situations you only have a second or half second to make a decision whether or not to use some type of force,” he said.

Blair admits it is not always possible to de-escalate a situation. However, with the simulator training, officers will have more knowledge on how to avoid unnecessary force when possible.

“Sometimes you’re going to go into something and you’re not going to have a choice but to use deadly force, but in a lot of situations you talk through situations and use other options,” Blair said.

Part of the training also focuses on the appropriate use of force when using weapons like Tasers and guns.

The training will take place Aug. 13 through Aug. 23.

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