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Photos by Deb Gau Cpl. Adam Baumann of the Marshall Police Department demonstrates the law enforcement training simulator.

MARSHALL — Marshall’s Merit Center is a place where police officers prepare for all the different possibilities they might encounter while on patrol.

They participate in simulations that take place on a computer simulator. As each situation unfolds, officers decide how to talk to suspects, when to taser, and when to discharge their firearm.

The simulator was introduced to a group at Marshall’s Adult Community Center on Tuesday. Officers explained that it involves the use of actors, but is based on real-life situations that might be encountered as part of a change in law enforcement.

“You never know what could happen” said Ben Rieke, a Marshall Police sergeant. “We cannot consider anything as a simple routine. Any situation can become unpredictable. All we can do is prepare.

Different situations were presented to the public. Examples included a no-burn violation, disgruntled employee, vagrancy complaint, vehicle burglary, domestic disputes, and gun possession issue.

In addition to demonstrating the simulator, the officers explained to the public how they behave when it comes to confrontations and use of force.

They said 99% of all answers don’t require strength. Very often, the simple act of talking to someone helps resolve a situation.

“Our main objective is to calm them down,” said Police Corporal Marshall Adam Baumann. “Almost all the time we get the result we are looking for. The use of force does not have to come into play.”

He said there are two main circumstances in which force becomes necessary, both of which involve neutralizing a serious threat.

One way this becomes necessary is when an officer must engage in self-defense. It is also necessary when a person engages in actions harmful to others or attempts to flee with the likelihood of posing a danger to the public.

Officers follow a system of priorities when making decisions during an incident. The highest priority is the safety of victims and innocent bystanders.

The second highest priority is officer safety, followed by suspect safety. The fourth and lowest priority is property protection.

State regulations require officers to complete at least 48 hours of continuing education and training every three years. Local services generally go well beyond these minimum guidelines.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to hone our skills,” said Rieke. “Training has become a very high priority. It is a response to situations like Uvalde.

Marshall Police Chief Jim Marshall said the past few years have been one of the darkest times in law enforcement history, with a cluster of high-profile situations in which actions agents were questioned.

He said the simulator cost around $100,000 to buy and install. Officers from many places come to Marshall to train with.

“We are very lucky to have the opportunity to train with state-of-the-art equipment,” said Marshal. “We take our training very seriously. The reality is that we are likely at some point to face dangerous situations. We want to do everything we can to be ready. »

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