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Police simulator trains Harrisburg officers on when to use lethal force

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Police officers have spent the past few days training on a mobile simulator that lets them practice situations that could result in lethal force.

Dealing with active shooter situations is one of the most complicated things officers can do in the line of duty, and the training offered gives the department's officers critical practice in those scenarios.

"Policing is very random," Lt. Milo Hooper, with the Harrisburg police department, said. "A lot of times people like to say, 'Well, you're trained to do this or you're trained to do that.' You are trained in just the concept. You're not trained in every situation."

The Army National Guard's Northeast Counterdrug Training Center, based at Fort Indiantown Gap, provides the Mobile Meggit FATS L7 compact firearms training simulator to law enforcement agencies throughout the eastern seaboard free of charge for the training of officers.

"This machine for Harrisburg would cost 100, 125, 150 thousand dollars," Staff Sgt. Michael Mackavage of the Army National Guard said. "We're here to bring it to them free at no cost so we're training these guys so per body, we're saving them a lot of money."

New officers are required to complete the simulator as part of their training before patrol duty, usually completed at the stationary simulator at Fort Indiantown Gap, which has the ability to fire paintballs back at the officers. It also has the capability to use non-lethal options, such as a Taser or pepper spray.

"Everyone's on board with this type of training," Lt. Hooper said. "Anything to make us better, make us better prepared to handle the community is always a good thing."