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Posted: 5:38 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Andrew Doud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police officers have a new training tool designed to outline when deadly force is necessary. "It's much different than being on the range and just shooting paper targets," said Sergeant Mark Faulkenberry. The Fire Arms Training Simulator -- or FATS -- is an $80,000 investment for CMPD. It allows officers to walk through various situations that require differing levels of force. We were with Sergeant Faulkenberry as he and his partner handled a scenario where a suspect was holding a hostage at gunpoint. In this case, officers were forced to shoot the suspect, but instructors want them to understand that's not always necessary. Sergeant Cullen Wright said, "It also allows you to make mistakes in here that you can't make in a live fire environment."Wright is an instructor and also on the department's shooting board, which reviews all shootings in Charlotte. In January, officers responded to a scene in south Charlotte where a man had a box cutter. They first tried to shock him with a Taser, but when he came at them with the weapon, they shot and killed him. State investigators ruled the officers were justified in shooting the suspect. In this training simulator, officers can use tools like stun guns and pepper spray along with their guns. "Everything that the officers have here are exactly what they have on duty," Wright said. All the tools are linked to the software through blue tooth -- giving them real world experience through a computer.
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