BEEVILLE – Law enforcement students returning to A.C. Jones High School will be in for a couple of real treats when they get to class later this month.
A large portion of one room at the Law Enforcement Department’s facilities on the far east side of the high school campus has been turned into a “use of force simulator.”
“We just got it a few weeks ago,” said instructor Roland Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, like all the other instructors in the department, has several years under his belt working on the street as a law enforcement officer in Beeville.
He is also the one behind the laptop computer which controls the video scenarios that can be projected onto a white wall in the classroom.
Last Thursday morning Rodriguez, department head Art Gamez and instructor Carmen Rojas invited three top JHS staff members into the classroom to show off the new equipment.
The guests included high school Principal Ann Ewing, Athletic Director Chris Soza and Career and Technology Education Coordinator Jay Viertel.
The simulator offers students an excellent opportunity to try out the skills they are learning on how to deal with intruders and even active shooters who might come onto the campus.
Rodriguez explained that he can project a number of different characters carrying out various confrontations with officers who might confront them.
The instructor can even control the reaction of the characters in different types of confrontations. Depending on how a student or officer might communicate with those being confronted, Rodriguez can escalate or de-escalate the situation.
The confrontations do not always have to result in a shooting, and the characters being confronted are not always bad guys.
The students are given a variety of tools with which to work. Those include the standard size Glock pistol, an Oleoresin Capiscum (pepper spray) canister and a flashlight.
The simulator includes two pistols so that two persons can train at the same time.
The simulator’s computer system shows the point of impact of any shots fired by the pistols.
Although the flashlight does not produce a beam, the computer shows a light on the image where the flashlight is pointed and moves when the flashlight is moved.
Soza had a chance to check out the simulator and prove his prowess with a pistol. He happily gave it his approval.
Rodriguez was eager to show off the other new feature in the building, the “training room.”
That feature was built by carpentry students at the high school, and Rodriguez said that will allow students to train on how to properly enter building and clear multiple rooms.
Gamez and Rodriguez said one of the most important aspects of the facilities at the high school is that the training room and the simulator will be available, after school, for officers, deputies and troopers from other agencies in the county to use for training.
In fact, Rodriguez said the training room, with its long hallway and individual rooms, will be available for local firefighters to use in some of their training exercises.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.