Sheriff’s Office receives driving simulator | SkyHiNews.com

Sheriff’s Office receives driving simulator

Training law enforcement officers is a difficult task. All the academic courses and classroom instruction in the world does not necessarily prepare an individual for the high stakes and high intensity moments that can, in the blinking of an eye, transform lives.

Local police and sheriff's deputies now have a new tool in their training regimen to better prepare officers for the fluid and complex driving scenarios they encounter while serving. The Grand County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) recently received a large trailer contained driving simulator purchased by the Police Officers Standards Training (POST) Board. Local authorities began training on the simulator this week.

Training officers how to properly conduct things like high speed pursuits, PIT maneuvers and inclement weather driving can be dangerous for officers and expensive for departments as such training scenarios can result in severely damaged vehicles. For agencies in the high Rockies it is even more complicated as there are few locations large enough and flat enough to safely allow officers to travel at high speeds while training.

The simulator itself is contained within a 24-foot trailer and utilizes a faux driving console, including steering wheel, lights, siren box, radios and computers; all intended to mimic the dynamics deputies and officers must deal with even while operating in dangerous conditions or during a pursuit. Three large TV screens surrounding the simulator's console provide the visual elements of the device. Authorities can program any weather or road condition and a seemingly endless number of scenarios into the system. Hazards like drunk drivers and distracted drivers can also be programed into the simulator.

According to the GCSO's Public Information Officer, Lt. Dan Mayer, the POST Board approached the Sheriff's department with the idea of purchasing the driving simulator. The simulator, which costs roughly $150,000, was purchased using marijuana tax funds. The GCSO is technically designated as the "host" agency for the simulator, which is intended for use throughout the northwest region of the state to include all law enforcement agencies in Grand, Routt and Moffat Counties.

The new driving simulator is one of several purchased by POST. The simulators are hosted at various agencies allowing other regional departments to utilize the equipment.

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