Bethel Park citizens take the MILO trainer hostage
Two by two Bethel Park residents walked to the front of the room, selected a firearm, then stood in front of the life-size screen waiting for their scenario to unfold. From hostage situations, to car jackings, chases, abductions, shootings, robberies, and other occurrences representative of the life of the police officer, these 46 concerned citizens learned just how quickly events can start – and end.
Advised by Police Officer Tom Rigatti, coordinator of Bethel Park annual Citizen’s Police Academy, that their goal is to “end the threat,” they meekly shouted commands and aggressively took their shots. They shot high, shot low, and sometimes hit their mark dead center.
“You’re responsible for every shot that comes out of your gun,” Rigatti said.
He stressed the importance of knowing your target and your surroundings. When one participant’s shot missed the assailant and hit the rear wall Rigatti explained, “That bullet could have gone though that wall and into a day care center or a convenience store on the other side.”
Rigatti was assisted by Mike Gremba, Safety and Security instructor in PTC’s School of Criminal Justice and retired police officer. Gremba introduced the MILO Range Pro judgmental training system which projects a realistic, versatile and effective series of use-of-force training scenarios and simulated firearms drills. "PTC teaches weapon safety and creates various scenarios of crimes in progress so that our students can decide quickly what force, such as firearm, mace, Taser or verbal, will be most appropriate and effective to de-escalate a particular situation," said Gremba.
According to Rigatti, the police department has turned to Pittsburgh Technical College for four consecutive years for high quality instruction on MILO simulation, essential to simulate how quickly a situation evolves in law enforcement and how quickly an officer must make a decision that can have a profound impact on the actor(s) as well as the officer.
"It is an eye opening experience to most students," he said.
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