News / Calgary

Calgary police in the market for new portable training simulators

The simulators are designed to allow officers to practice decision making and strategic communication strategies in situations they might face on the job

Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle runs a traffic stop simulation on the Calgary Police Service's current training simulator.

Jennifer Friesen / Calgary Freelance

Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle runs a traffic stop simulation on the Calgary Police Service's current training simulator.

The Calgary Police Service is looking to update and replace their current training simulators—machines the service say help them give practical training of possible scenarios police officers might encounter.

In a request for proposal (RFP) posted by the City of Calgary on behalf of the service on July 27 the city asks for proposals for two “portable judgment simulators” with a price tag of approximately $200,000.

The RFP said the simulators should be portable to allow for multiple-site training exercises as well as sharing training sessions with other municipal police agencies.

Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle of the CPS’ Chief Crowfoot Training Centre said CPS have been using these simulators for roughly 20 years already, but in that time the technology has significantly improved. She said the service’s current system can no longer be upgraded.

Doyle said the simulators have all kinds of built-in scenarios—from a traffic stop to a weapons call— and they also have the capability for the user to create their own scenario videos.

Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle displays the training simulator's varying fake weapons, used alongside communication tactics to teach recruits how to handle situations in the field.

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Staff Sgt. Michelle Doyle displays the training simulator's varying fake weapons, used alongside communication tactics to teach recruits how to handle situations in the field.

“It opens up the door for all kinds of opportunity for new training,” she said.
Doyle said the simulator is a screen that is run by an instructor and the officer in training interacts with the screen through verbal communication and a belt with use of force options.

She said the whole point of the simulators is to work on decision making and developing de-escalation skills to resolve situations through strategic communications.

“These systems now allow the instructors to branch the scenario. That means if the officer goes in and they’re facing a situation and they’re communicating really well with a person, you can then branch that to resolve that where the person voluntarily complies,” said Doyle.

“Conversely if things are not going well or they need exposure to making decisions about appropriate use of force the instructor can branch it in a different way.”

While the simulator has been a part of CPS recruit training for many years, Doyle said they hope to use the second simulator for more in-service training as well.

The staff sergeant said this is just one of the ways CPS is making their de-escalation and strategic communications training programs more robust, and they’ll be announcing other measures in the fall.

“It’s about learning how to go into situations and trying to gain compliance through communication. You have to practice because it’s a skill that’s developed,” she said.

The RFP closes August 22 at 4 p.m.

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