Training program aims to save lives

That’s the message law enforcement training officer John Reedy stresses when teaching officers response skills. He was one of two instructors at the German Twp. police department Tuesday instructing local police and deputies on two simulators meant to train them on life-and-death scenarios surrounding their driving habits and gunfire.

Officers who are killed in the line of duty most often die from gunshot wounds and car accidents, respectively, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In the United States, 119 officers were killed in the line of duty last year, including two from Ohio. Officer Jason Edward Gresko of Willoughby was killed in an auto accident, while Officer Frank Dennis Mancini of Akron was killed by gunfire, according to the memorial fund.

Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Waughtel Hopper was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2011.

That’s why Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is using the 2 percent his office receives from Ohio’s casino taxes for the Law Enforcement Training Fund to purchase and offer mobile training on simulators focusing on skills related to those two issues.

German Twp. police, along with officers from seven other Clark County agencies, are receiving the training through Thursday using simulations of realistic scenarios, such as responding to domestic violence calls or traffic crashes.

In some cases suspects are armed, or people don’t properly respond to lights and sirens. Officers learn to react appropriately in a setting that allows them to reset and try again, Reedy said.

“You come out of these things unscathed,” he said. “Hopefully the information that they gain, the pieces of seconds that they save in these critical incidents, will mean the difference between their life or somebody else’s.”

Officer Greg Marlow with South Charleston police said he found the simulations helpful and realistic.

“You’ve got to be aware of everything, even of your own people. It’s dangerous out there,” he said.

The hope is officers won’t be caught off-guard if they face a similar situation in real life, Reedy said.

“The biggest killer of police officers are accidents and shootings so that’s why we’re investing in these simulators,” he said. “It can save lives.”

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