Wednesday, July 17, 2019 Medina 72°

Cops & Courts

'As close as you can get': Training simulates shootings

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Ashley Fox y The Gazette

In a dark room with the only light coming from a jumbo screen, Wadsworth Officer John Ahern, feet firmly planted and gun drawn, yells at a man to put down his gun.

“Put the gun down!” Ahern yells repeatedly, raising his weapon.

Ahern then begins to shoot at the man, who collapses to the ground next to a car.

The scenario was part of simulation training the Wadsworth Police Department is participating in this week.

Following each of the several scenarios Ahern participated in, he explained why he reacted to each situation the way he did.

Officials said 23 Wadsworth officers were taking part in training at Fire Station 2, 338 Weatherstone Drive.

SIMTAC Services of Canonsburg, Pa., helped stage the simulation. It included actual firearms that were “switched over” to carbon dioxide.

“They react the same way a gun would,” Wadsworth Officer Kyle Haas said.

“It’s as close as you can get” to real weapons, SIMTAC owner Jeffrey Seeley said.

Seeley, Haas and Wadsworth Officer Andrew Blubaugh chose the scenarios for each officer and then had a “debriefing” after each.

“Our officers have great skills but their views are different,” Haas said.

Each scenario lasted 30 seconds to about a minute, he said.

Examples of the simulations included a bar fight, a live shooter in a stairwell and a traffic stop.

The live scenario-based training is an opportunity for officers to “immerse” themselves in situations, Haas said. The training helps officers recognize if the situation can be de-escalated as well as supplement training the department receives in different areas throughout the year, Haas said.

The training was paid for through the Continual Professional Training program mandated by the Ohio attorney general’s office, Blubaugh said.

Lt. Dave Dorland said the cost of four days of training is $1,550.

“This SIMTAC training will be applied to each officer’s required 2017 Continual Professional Training requirements under the general law enforcement category,” Dorland said in an email.

Simulation training typically is completed once a year, Haas said. Some officers will go through the simulation twice if scheduling permits.

Contact reporter Ashley Fox

at (330) 721-4048 or

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