The Manitoba government, Assiniboine Community College and the Brandon Police Service (BPS) have partnered to develop a Use of Force Simulation Lab, which officially opened today at the college’s Victoria Avenue East campus in Brandon.
“This simulation lab will be an invaluable training resource for police service personnel in the Westman region,” said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson. “Through our Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund, our government takes money out of criminal activity and invests it in initiatives that will reduce crime across the province. We are proud to partner with Assiniboine and the BPS on this important tool.”
The 7,000-sq.-ft. space allows for complete scenario training exercises to be deployed using a life-sized video screen, shoot back cannon, and a digital control room. The simulation technology makes it possible for trained officers and employees to decide how the scenario plays out in real-time, guided by the responses and actions of the trainee.
“This new space is a terrific addition to our existing Public Safety Training Centre on campus, which provides training and development facilities for a wide variety of organizations,” said Karen Hargreaves, dean of health and human services at Assiniboine. “We’re continuing to build on our already strong track record of program leadership in the area of public safety.”
The computer system allows for more than 450 different scenarios to play out, all with the aim of training police officers and other public safety personnel how to react quickly and appropriately in situations that range from routine to high stakes. Updates are made to some of the scenarios every few months.
“The acquisition of this simulator will enhance officer and public safety for the Brandon Police Service and other public safety organizations,” said Chief Wayne Balcaen, BPS. “This technology is another tool that will better assist our officers and safely prepare them for situations they may not otherwise encounter. Police service members will now be able to engage in dynamic and realistic situations that would not be possible until faced in a real-life situation.”
No live ammunition is used in the lab. Instead, mock-computerized firearms interact with the screen. The environment is large enough that vehicles and other props can be brought into the space through an overhead door, adding to the realism of the training exercises.
The specialized equipment housed in the simulation lab was purchased by the BPS through a $90,000 investment from the province’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund. An MOU between Assiniboine and BPS allows for the college to house the equipment and share the space with other public safety organizations for their training needs.
“We expect this training environment will be put to good use by many public safety organizations in addition to the Brandon Police Service,” said Hargreaves.
BPS and Assiniboine have a long-standing history of collaboration. The college’s police studies program includes a seconded officer to teach and provides Phase A training for the BPS recruits.