RCPD’s ‘MILO Range’ simulates real-life incidents

RAPID CITY, S.D. – An interactive and realistic program is honing police officers’ decision-making skills for life on the street.

The Rapid City Police Department demonstrated the MILO Range, also known as the Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives training simulator, at the Public Safety Building on Friday.

The system utilizes realistic guns that fire laser beams at a specialized projector with a hit-detection system. The guns are also loaded with carbon dioxide canisters that simulate recoil.

A firearms instructor operates the projector by playing prerecorded scenarios depicting multiple types of crime scenes. The simulation plays out like a choose-your-own-adventure story: the operator can choose from multiple options that determine how the situation will play out, requiring officers to quickly react.

Each trainee is given either verbal or visual instructions depending on the simulation. They must then interact with the projector screen as one would in real life. Officers were required to talk with victims, give commands to suspects and use appropriate tools and weapons against virtual aggressors.

Sgt. Wayne Asscherick, firearms instructor with the RCPD, said the MILO Range focuses more on teaching communication skills and less on shooting skills.

“The MILO system is different from just standing on the shooting range and shooting at targets, which teaches you how to shoot,” Asscherick said. “This system actually forces that officer or gets that officer to react and interact with the scenario.”

The aim of the game is to take down a target with one’s words. There are diplomatic resolutions that can be achieved depending on how the trainee reacts to the instructor’s choices. Deadly force can be used, but only as a final, last resort after peaceful measures failed to work and a nonlethal resolution is no longer an option.

No matter how the situation is resolved, the range prepares officers for the realities of law enforcement and the split-second decisions they must make.

“It’s just one more tool that we can use to make a better police officer or deputy for the community,” Asscherick finished.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News