Arlington PD teams up with students for firearm training

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Some high school students in Arlington who may want to be police officers are getting training suitable for a current officer.

The Arlington Police Department is sharing some new technology with the students while also training its force.

Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson says conducting training exercises can be labor intensive, so it's difficult to do them often. But with a new piece of technology, training can be done 24/7.

It comes at a time when the actions of police officers are under intense public scrutiny.

A classroom inside Arlington ISD's new career and technical center has the ability to transform a 32-foot-wide wall into hundreds of locations. In this case, it was a hospital where Arlington police officers are responding to an active shooter call.

The high-tech training simulator, purchased by APD, can put police officers through 600 real-life scenarios. They "play out" depending on the officer's verbal commands and choice of weapon.

Police training is in the spotlight this week with the murder conviction against of a former Balch Springs police officer who killed a teenager in the line of duty.

Without directly commenting on the Roy Oliver case, Chief Johnson did say the $100,000 simulator allows officers to hone their skills on a regular basis.

“The fact of the matter is their job can be dangerous at times,” the chief said. “But we also want to equip them with the skills to deescalate in all instances that they can to avoid the use of force.”

The simulator is also being used by AISD police academy students. In this case, they’re responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Senior student Christian Alvarez says this simulator helps her appreciate the dangerous situations police officers can find themselves in.

“The scenarios, you never know what to expect,” he said. “And you just have to think on the spot like in real life. You've got to learn how to stay calm and react the right way.”

The scenarios will be updated annually.