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Few, if any devices, have changed law enforcement more than electronic control devices (ECDs). But with every new tool comes the need to train on that tool.
In this regard, Taser has been responsive to LE needs, adapting training according to feedback from the field, changes in the law, medical research and best practices learned from end users. Among its most recent developments is the Taser Trainer—a simulator designed specifically to train in the proper use of Taser ECDs.
A New Model
With the introduction of the Taser X2, trainers at Taser teamed up with Ti Training Corp to discuss how best to provide training for this new ECD. They were particularly interested in the new “ARC switch,” which is used to re-energize deployed cartridges. It seemed a natural fit to develop an X2 for use in the simulated environment to allow officers to develop familiarity with the new features of this device.
The discussion turned to development of a simulation system that could be used for any Taser ECD. The system had to simplify and accelerate transition training from the X26 to the X2.
Additionally, the designers wanted the system to be capable of delivering all classroom training, including PowerPoint presentations and testing for end users. They also wanted to be able to provide accurate and detailed records for proficiency in manipulation of the ECD, understanding the specifics of the device itself, as well as applicable laws, policies and procedures. The goal was to provide all these capabilities in a low-cost, portable system that was simple to operate. The result: the Taser Trainer.
The Taser Trainer uses the latest in simulation technology to provide a simple to use, cost effective path to continuous training to Taser ECD users. The system includes Taser ECDs specifically designed to use with the simulator. In the case of the new X2, patent-pending technology will allow the system to recognize any combination of trigger pulls and ARC switch activations and display appropriate outcomes.
The Taser Trainer also incorporates wireless keypad technology with specialized software to perform training in a classroom environment. The system includes the current version of Taser’s ECD end-user courses. The students can find answers about ECDs, as well as policy and legal issues. Instructors have the option of quickly and easily editing all classroom content to ensure it matches their specific policies. Feedback from the student’s keypad can provide the instructor with real-time information of how each student answers a particular question and can be documented in a variety of electronic reports.
Specific use-of-force scenarios that deal with Taser ECD deployment are also included to allow students to interact in real-time with situations where they must make a decision of when and how to most effectively deploy their ECD. These scenarios include situations where the officer must transition to or from the ECD in order to resolve the situation. Again, video branching technology provides immediate feedback to the officer.
How It Works
The Taser Trainer consists of a laptop, a high-definition LED projector, a shot-detection camera and speakers. All of this is contained in one travel case roughly the size of a carry-on airline suitcase. Set up of the system is performed in minutes and can operate in any lighting environment. Any projection screen or simply a flat white wall can be used to display classroom training content, skill building exercises and scenarios. Set it down, turn it on and it’s ready for training.
In the case of the X26, a specially modified device and cartridges shoot two infrared lasers at the screen to simulate the darts fired from an actual device. These infrared “darts” are detected by the system and depending on location of impact, the scenario branches accordingly.
The X2 uses special cartridges that enable any live X2 to function with the simulator. Patent-pending technology allows the cartridge to tell the system if its infrared “darts” are fired or if the ARC switch has been pressed. The Taser Trainer system then interprets these signals and branches the content on the screen automatically. Firearms can also be incorporated to the Taser Trainer to assist in transition training during any scenario where the level of resistance may escalate or de-escalate.
Finally, the Taser Trainer provides specialized feedback tools to assist the officer and instructor in the learning process. These include the ability to record audio and video of the officer and replay this video after the exercise. This is done in conjunction with a replay of the scenario in a “picture-in-picture” format. Instructor and officers can thereby see exactly what was being done and said by the officer at any point in the scenario and evaluate their performance.
Additionally, the instructor can display any document, video file or picture file at any point during the debrief to clarify a training point. Examples include specific agency policies, incident videos of similar situations and case law.
There can be little doubt that effective training is the key to success. The Taser Trainer is the first system ever developed specifically for training with Taser ECDs. Its implementation is set to provide officers and agencies with unparalleled training opportunities that will aid them in protecting life.