A Utah law enforcement agency held their annual night-time training at the Weber County Sport Shooting Complex to make sure officers stay sharp at all hours.
Weber County Sheriff’s Office incorporates multiple exercises during the training, including VirTra virtual reality simulation training, live ammunition target practice, and a building clearing exercise in complete darkness.
All department members, including patrol deputies and correctional officers, go through the training every year to keep their skills fresh.
The first training exercise is an individual training simulation through VirTra, a virtual reality simulator that uses large screens to project images in a 360-degree arena. Officers step inside the simulator and have to respond to a certain scenario that they might commonly face on the job, such as a shooting or a noise complaint.
VirTra is now a popular law enforcement training tool used across the country.
After the VirTra test, officers go to the shooting range for live ammunition target practice, which is done in the dark. Officers are required to pass this test.
The final part of the training is a building clearing test done in small teams.
“You’re going into a house in a building clearing situation, and you don’t know what’s lying around the corner,” Lt. Ryan explained to ABC 4.
During the exercise, a team of four must enter a dark house with role players hiding inside, locating everyone, clearing the rooms, and finding the suspects.
To be as realistic as possible, officers and suspects are given handguns with harmless bullets made from chalk – similar to paintballs.
While most training sessions happen during the day, Lt. Ryan said that the night-time training is important to prepare officers to respond at all hours to high-stress situations.
“It’s a habit,” Lt. Ryan stated. “You’ve got to be able to create those neuropathways and that reaction. I was involved in a very high-stress situation a few years ago, you know, and there were gunshots and things that happened, and I can tell you that you fall back to your training.”