Posted: Dec 18, 2012 6:47 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2012 7:39 PM
McALLEN - Rio Grande Valley police departments are using new technology to train for shooting scenarios at schools.
Officer Jose Lopez on Tuesday trained on a simulator depicting realistic images of students fleeing from a shooter.
Lopez, a Palmview officer, and other officials revisited their training in the wake of a school shooting that left 26 people dead in Newtown, Conn.
An operator controls the simulator while the officer yells commands to the people on screen.
The operator can choose to have the suspect surrender peacefully or resist and even open fire.
"Drop your weapon now!" Lopez yelled before opening fire with the simulator's gun.
The drill offered Lopez and others a reality check.
"It got me sweating," Lopez said.
The simulator's realistic images immerse the trainee into a life-like shooting scenario where people get caught in the cross fire.
"I don't know if I shot a good guy ... but he didn't comply so I had to take action," Lopez said.
"It may never occur, but I rather be prepared to deal with it," Lopez said.
Joe Cruz, with SOGOPS Training Division, said the list is growing for departments to use the technology.
"Academies are great and field training programs are great, but unless you're exposed to these kinds of situations, you don't know how you're going to think," Cruz said.