Scenario training is some of the most valuable training that you can perform, because it reflects very closely the types of activities that you have to do in the field. It is very much like doing the work, but in a safe environment. When doing training it is important that the trainees be safe, I have officers remove all weapons, guns, knives, batons, Tasers, anything that they use as a weapon. If the training requires weapons I replace their weapons with red guns and other simulated weapons. I inspect each officer and I have the officers inspect each other to insure no weapons are missed. I don’t use unloaded guns, but simulated guns that are used for training only. I don’t even permit ammunition in the training area. Every year or so we hear of officers getting killed in training with guns that they thought were unloaded.
Scenario training should begin with very simple tasks, in a safe environment. Have a trainee perform a traffic stop on a minor traffic violation. Use the police department parking lot. Instruct the “driver” to cooperate with the trainee. Have the trainee stop the police car, call dispatch on the radio, work the emergency lights, spot lights and unbuckle the seat belt to approach the car. Make sure they have parked in an off-set position. Have the trainee make a driver side approach. They should check the violator car trunk, the back seat and the driver. The driver should be told to turn off their motor.
They should obtain the drivers license, registration and insurance paperwork. Have the trainee simulate a ticket but also have the trainee run the driver and vehicle. The trainee should re-approach the vehicle using the same tactics as the original approach. The trainee should explain the ticket, indeed, sell it to the violator. The officer should return to his vehicle in a safe manner and then resume patrol. Only when the trainee has mastered these basic skills and can perform them without error should the training advance to more complex encounters, that’s what the SGT Says.