PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield Police Division held a presentation at headquarters entitled 'Use of Force Scenarios' that demonstrated the new, state of the art firearms and incident simulator system.
The simulator has the ability to generate 700 scenarios, including motor vehicle stops, domestic violence incidents, fights, drug busts, and more. Some scenarios are 'to shoot' and some are 'don't shoot'. Director Riley told the crowd the point of using this technology is to enhance officers' de-escalation skills, and the purpose is not to embarrass but to train them more effectively.
"No call is alike, no call is the same," he said. They have the luxury to change the outcome of the scenarios, and no officer will repeat the same scenario.
Supervisors are being trained to use the system, and they will have the ability to pull officers off the street at random, with no warning, to go through scenarios. That's how it happens in real life, on the street; they don't know what's coming. All scenarios are blind, and no officer will know what scenario they will be put through.
At today's presentation, Officer Andrew Crawford, with the City of Plainfield for four years, was put on the spot, never having been through a scenario. It's a lot of pressure, but these are decisions that officers have to make in life and death situations, according to Riley. It could be their lives, the lives of members of the public, or it could be the suspect's life in question. He said "training is key." Supervisors will look at an officer's reactions, and at his or her communication skills.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp spoke briefly, commending Director Riley on the work he and his team have been doing, "for the vision, for recognizing the importance of being proactive, and providing our officers with the training that they need so that they can better serve and protect the public, as well as protect themselves because oftentimes they are thrust into situations and they have to make these split-second decisions.
Mapp continued, "And it is important that they are presented with these different scenarios that they might encounter in real life. So, this demonstrates the commitment of my administration investing in the technology, investing in our officers and making sure they are as prepared as possible to better protect and serve the public."
Riley noted that supervisors would rather have the latitude to judge an officer after the scenario in the station vs. out on the street. They can talk to them about their evaluation skills in escalating or de-escalating a situation.
Detective Green, who was running the simulation system, then described the first scenario for Officer Crawford, which was a suspicious person in a warehouse.
(NOTE: Some adult language in videos.)
The second scenario was a BOLO, or be on the lookout scenario. Both Officer Crawford and then a volunteer encountered the same scenario, with different outcomes.
Councilman Charles McRae volunteered, too, and this time the scenario was a domestic incident. After it concluded, Director Riley broke down what happened, and explained how a photo could be misinterpreted, and might not be enough to tell the whole story about what really took place.
Officer Crawford was also put through a scenario involving an emotionally disturbed person, or EDP.
Director Riley said the technology has been in use for about a month so far.
After the demonstration, Director Riley gave an overview of a monitoring station filled with screens that contain live feeds of activity across the city. One screen features ShotSpotter, the system designed to detect gun shots within the area of coverage, pinpoint from where they've been fired, and alert authorities in real time.