North Dakota Highway Patrol showcased new additions to the Law Enforcement Training Academy Range in Bismarck during an open house, including a multi-purpose training room with a use-of-force simulator.
According to The Bismarck Tribune, the $1.7 million upgrade was approved by the 2019 North Dakota legislature, and includes a 4,200-square-foot multi-purpose training room, an outdoor firing range with a modified roof, expansions to its driving course, as well as restrooms and an entry way.
The facility will also be used to accommodate training for other agencies in the state at no cost. “It’s a state facility and we’re more than willing to accommodate for the use of other agencies,” Sgt. Wade Kadrmas, the Highway Patrol’s safety and education officer said.
The multi-purpose room also houses new training technology – an interactive simulator that aims to help train new officers to handle and assess high-stress situations such as active shooters.
KX News reported that the simulator creates stressful, real-life scenarios that develop de-escalation skills, decision-making and threat assessment.
“If anything I’ve known in my years, it’s good communication will normally deescalate a lot of situations. You just want to speak with individuals, treat them right, don’t talk down to them,” Kadrmas said.
The simulator also enables instructors to build scenarios themselves and change them based on the trainee’s reactions. “We can create a scene or scenario and make (trainees) react,” Sgt. Derek Arndt said. The goal of the training is always to get a suspect to voluntarily comply to orders. After each scenario, trainees must justify their decisions.
Another feature of the simulator is its virtual shooting range, which allows trainees to work on their marksmanship skills before using live rounds at the real range.
The facility also has an expanded driving course where trainees can practice Pursuit Intervention Techniques, or PIT maneuvers, used during car chases.
The 1,200-foot asphalt pad was developed back in 2013 for $5 million but was recently expanded, and enables trainees to hone their driving skills before using them on the streets.
From 2017-20, more than 3,100 officers have been trained at the facility.