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The next generation of law enforcement training is being developed right here in the Brazos Valley. A new program at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville may change the way officials deal with emergencies.
Law enforcement officials from across the state come to train at the Law Enforcement Management Institute in Huntsville.
The training has been about the same for over a decade, but now it's more high tech. Future students will take a more hands on approach with the introduction of Incident Command Simulation Training.
“We wanted to take the training a step further. The sort of training no body else has," said David Webb, Assistant Director for the institute.
This state of the art simulation training room is the first of its kind in the world. Using computers and audio and visual aids, it provides real time emergency scenarios, using real situations, at real locations.
“The whole concept is to enable commanders and teams to deal with criminal activity. Everything from hostage taking, whether it be a school or prison," said Webb.
Program Development Coordinator, Magdalena McMillan says the program also follows new homeland security guidelines.
“Our scenarios will deal with rural, small incidents that can be handled locally and will also range from incidents such as natural disasters that go across many jurisdictions to major national incidents such as terrorism," said McMillan.
The goal is for participants to practice their decision making in a controlled environment and better prepare them for real-life emergency situations.
“We’re hoping that students will make mistakes in the classroom instead of making mistakes in management decisions out in real life," said McMillan.
Instruction also includes techniques on how different agencies can get organized and work together during large or small scale events.
Organizers for the training center hope the facility will set standards and one day serve as a model for real life training scenarios world-wide. The training program should be ready for its first class in April.