By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
The Licking Police Department recently completed an annual MILO range, reality-based training session with Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA), the city insurance program.
The MILO training is a support program provided by MIRMA for state law enforcement agencies and does not affect the insurance rate structure. “MIRMA also has grant programs that offer law enforcement and public personnel assistance with needed and necessary equipment, such as body and car cameras, Tasers and stop sticks. This is offered to help keep public service officials safe, to avoid liability and prevent losses,” said Senior Loss Control Consultant Kelly Beets, who conducted the training session.
“The Licking Police Department conducts multiple training sessions throughout the year, which include various skill sets in simulated training. These training sessions are invaluable in possible future decision-making abilities for our officers,” said Chief Pat Burton.
Sgt. Brian Allgire, Det. Kenny Santee, officers Kaleb Berkshire and Mike Wehling, in addition to Burton and Beets, participated in the training. Each officer is allowed a warm-up practice, and then the officer participates in approximately five different scenarios. The real life scenarios emphasize judgment-based decisions on how to respond, what tools to best utilize, such as gun, Taser (less than lethal), mace (limited for multiple reasons) or no shoot, (aggressors can be talked to a reasonably calm level). In most scenarios talking to the persons involved is the initial step. Some cases involve preventing citizens from harming themselves and possibly others.
Burton and Beets are constantly monitoring the officers’ actions while they are “on the scene” depicted on the screen. Upon completion they initiate conversation, suggestions and support that includes input from all officers present based on their personal experience, training and knowledge. Beets will share information from his previous sessions with other law enforcement agencies when appropriate. Questions asked may include “what if” and “why;” this helps the officers evaluate their actions and assess their judgment calls. While in this simulated training, officers explain their actions, reactions, alternative action and any one of possible multiple outcomes. This awareness of details is sometimes critical should the case go to trial or be presented as an insurance claim; as well, preservation of any evidence is of utmost importance.
Officers will sometimes evaluate the situation and call for additional back-up or appropriate personnel, such as emergency assistance, prior to stepping into the situation. They are trained to eliminate the immediate threat to the public and themselves. Critical criteria in evaluation include: who is posing the threat, what is the immediate situation, timeline of events happening, where are all the players in the event and how is the best way to resolve this situation for all involved.
In today’s world there is often no way to discern the good guys from the bad guys, or even possibly who the victim actually is. Sometimes, as in day-to-day life, there is no obvious right or wrong choice. Ongoing training, sometimes specialized, by police departments allow them to become better at their jobs as they protect citizens and themselves.
Editor’s note: Nationwide there is an increase in lack of respect and a confident belligerence towards law enforcement. However, be aware that local law enforcement will be the responders to your call for help when you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, an altercation through no fault of your own, or been the victim of a robbery or a similar life-altering incident.