MARYLAND

New tool helps Prince George's County police train for dangerous situations

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Prince George's County police now have a new tool to help them train for dangerous situations.

The Judgmental Enhancement Training System (JETS) will help officers train to make split second decisions.

JETS can generate 425 different scenarios, including an active shooter, a hostage situation, even threats of terrorism.

In turn, participants can decide how to respond, with a gun, a taser, pepper spray or with no weapon at all.

Lt. William Gleason, with the Prince George's County Police Department Training Education Division, said, "We can escalate the situations to make them worst case scenario. We call that stress inoculation or crisis rehearsal, or we can keep the scenarios mild mannered and let them use their communication skills to deescalate things."

Department officials say this software is better than any training program they've used in the past, because it's so interactive. The program also provides an instant video replay of the actions taken by officers in each scenario.

"Being able to turn that camera and show an officer his actions are vital, because a lot of them believe they do certain things in critical situations that they in fact may not have done," Major Mark Person, also with the PGPD Training Education Division, explained.

There's even a cannon that shoots small pellets at participants.

"...they realize they might have been vulnerable in a position where they might have been shot," Gleason added.

It's been a dangerous year for Prince George's County police.

Just last week, officers exchanged fire in College Park with a suspect they say was high on PCP.

"I've been on for 22 years. I've never seen so many encounters that we're having now where people are armed, and they're willing to shoot us," Person said. "Scenario-based training is really the future of law enforcement. This is going to save lives."

With that in mind, the newest police academy classes start using the program this week and will hit the streets in the fall.

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