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Virtual training benefits Wakefield MSP

 

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

A TROOPER from the Michigan State Police Wakefield Post participates in a virtual scenario Friday during a training at the Wakefield Township Hall.

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP - Troopers from the Michigan State Police Wakefield Post participated in virtual training Friday at the Wakefield Township Hall.

The training used a program called Virtra, operated by Matt Clausen, of the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The software allows for a variety of scenarios to take place virtually on-screen, including domestic abuse, basic traffic stops, active shooters or hostage situations.

Sgt. Glenn Gauthier said the system was loaned from the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Department, and that Friday was the first time troopers used it.

"The goal is to have every officer here for two hours to run through as many scenarios as they can," Gauthier said.

Troopers participated in both lethal and non-lethal situations. After each scenario, participants discussed the situations and were able to see where their shots were fired.

Real guns were used for some of the scenarios, however the barrels were replaced with carbon dioxide cartridges.

According to Gauthier, the goal is to make the experience is real as possible.

Some scenarios used Tasers or chemical agents like pepper spray.

Participants went through scenarios alone or with a partner and the software also allowed for shooting range-style training, however the training was meant for situations to be as real as possible.

"We want this to be true to life," Gauthier said. "You're not going to have time to look at sights. It's going to be point and shoot. It would be unrealistic to have them standing there ready to shoot."

The goal is to continue the training possibly two to three times a year, Gauthier said, because of how realistic it is.

"We shoot our firearms three times a year, in the spring, summer and fall," he said. "In the winter, we don't have a range, so this helps. This training is better because it involves actors (on the screen) and scenarios change. It's not just shooting paper targets."