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New Mobile Training Facilities Unveiled to Help Non-SWAT Officers
COLUMBUS -- For police officers, sometimes waiting for the SWAT team in an emergency situation can be deadly, but new portable training facilities will be available to every law enforcement officer in Ohio.
While hosting the Ohio law enforcement conference in Columbus Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine unveiled three new Portable Training Facilities designed to train officers on techniques for responding to active shooter incidents. The PTFs are designed primarily for use by patrol officers.
"Ohio's patrol officers are the street officers who will arrive to an active shooting scene well before a SWAT team has time to mobilize," said Attorney General DeWine. "It is important that our patrol officers get the chance to practice and sharpen their skills in responding to these types of emergencies. Around the different corners they will have blind spots and the trainer will be training them on how do you clear a building, how do you go in and make sure you come out alive and make sure you find out who's in that building."
All the pistols and even the ammunition are for training purposes so they are non-lethal.
"You can see there's different shapes in there so the officers have to make a shoot/don't shoot decision. They have to look, see the right shape and shoot the correct target so it's not just a shooting gallery, there's decision-making involved," said Joe Sidoti. "It's also about teamwork so they can work together to protect themselves and work together as they move through the structure."
The facilities can also be used to train officers on responding to unknown disturbances and on conducting a building search.
The PTFs are composed of collapsible wall panels that can be assembled to mimic the interior structure of a building or home.
"We are excited to offer these PTFs because many law enforcement agencies don't have access to empty buildings that will allow them to conduct this type of training," said DeWine. "Plus, a vacant building only has a single interior structure, while these facilities can be reassembled into several different layouts that give officers a unique training experience."
The facilities are part of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy's (OPOTA) Mobile Academy program that was launched by Attorney General DeWine in 2012.
OPOTA's Mobile Academy revolutionizes the approach to law enforcement training by bringing the training tools to the officers, instead of requiring officers to travel to an OPOTA campus.
In addition to the PTFs, OPOTA's Mobile Academy also gives officers access to driving and firearm simulators which contain hundreds of realistic scenarios.
"We want every officer to have that training," said Dewine. "We lose officers every year. We lose them two ways primarily. "One they are shot in the line of duty and the other they are killed in a car accident. So our three methods of training aim at keeping officers alive."
"The average police officer that doesn't have SWAT experience will receive this type of training once in the Academy and hasn't had it probably since then for several years," said Sidoti. "So this is a way to get current skills."
OPOTA also employs expert instructors to conduct the training, most of which is available at no cost to local agencies.
The PTFs and simulators are funded by taxes from Ohio's casinos. Two-percent of Ohio's casino taxes are deposited into the Attorney General's Law Enforcement Training Fund.
"A lot of agencies don't have the money and can't dedicate the instructors to give this kind of training," said Sidoti.
Starting next year, this training facility will be available to any police agency within the state of Ohio that wants it.
Photographs of the new PTFs are available on the Ohio Attorney General's Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/OhioAttorneyGeneral
Law enforcement agencies wishing to bring a Mobile Academy training facility to their department should send an email to askOPOTA@ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
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