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Seeing it in use at the 2 016 FBINAA con- ference , which was held in St. Louis County, allowed him to stand inside the simulator and try it out himself that same day. His time in the simulator left Cox with a personal mission to fig- ure out how his department and officers could get one to improve their own training. The realism of the experience in replicating what real police officers experience on the street in high-stress crime situations is what convinced him that the system would be beneficial to officers in his department. After trying it himself, he stood by and watched other FBINAA members as they went through video simulations using the system. "When I watched other officers go through the simulator, I saw them – veteran officers – using very good tac- tics, but they were sweating" from the stress and realism of what they were experiencing. "I thought, my goodness, if it's that realistic in this big audito- rium, then that's what we need. You could tell it was intense for them." But getting a simulator wasn't in his de- partment's budget at that point, so Cox left the conference and began talking about his experi- ence with other police chiefs and officers in St. Louis County in the ensuing months. The coun- ty has 56 different police departments inside its borders and none of them could afford to buy such a system on their own, he said. Other officers from around the county were also at the 2016 conference, which was sponsored by the Eastern District of Missouri Chapter of the FBINAA and featured Cox as its president and chairman that year. Many of those officers also saw the five-screen simulator and went through their own situational events using the system. "There were lines to try it out," said Cox. "Everybody was very impressed with the multi-screen, very realistic system." For years, officers throughout St. Louis County have only been able to train with an outdated system that used a single screen and animated images to simulate crimes. That old system is light years from today's multi-screen systems, he said. After plenty of discussions among county police leaders and officers, the St. Louis Police Foundation, a non-profit group that supports How Local Law Enforcement Can Collaborate to Acquire Use of Force Training Simulators continued from page 30

Louis County Police Department and has served as deputy chief since 2014.

local police departments by raising money for needed projects which aren't funded with tax dol- lars, was contacted and began brainstorming with local police. The foundation donates funds for police training, programs, technology and related expenses on behalf of the police in the county. A local anonymous donor heard of the county's desire for the use of force training sys- tem and after reviewing several other proposals for other funding needs, volunteered to pay for the high-tech, five-screen training simulator sys- tem in its entirety – if the county's police de- partments would share it among all its members. The anonymous donor provided the money, the St. Louis County Police Department bought the system and it was recently installed at the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy, which provides training for all officers in the county. The virtual reality training installed system is fully operational today and officers from the police academy are continuing to test it and gain experience with it before its use is soon expand- ed, said Cox, who is a 30-year veteran of the St.

"We had to actually take a wall out in the academy to accommodate it," he said. "We can't wait to start using it for ongoing training so all the officers in this area can train on it." The St. Louis County experience isn't the only way that communities can collaborate to acquire such systems, according to law enforce- ment experts. Other options to buy virtual reality train- ing systems include community partnerships where groups of departments and municipalities can apply for neighborhood grants, which usu- ally come from federal and urban development agencies. The grants, which usually total about $10,000 each, can be combined between grant applicants to make larger purchases together to initiate projects, including police simulator training technology. ALTERNATIVE FUNDING SOURCES

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