Incidents involving Police Officers are unfortunately becoming very common. With those incidents also comes backlash from civilians who believe the use-of-force officers use was excessive for the situation they were in at the time. As a way to get a better understanding of exactly what goes through an officer’s mind during those high stress situations, I went through a simulation program with the Osage Beach Police Department that places you in a variety of scenarios officers could potentially face at any time. Beforehand, I spoke with Aaron Ambrose, the Risk Management Director for the company that implements the test, Midwest Public Risk, and he told me everything there is to know about the program, called MILO, and what someone could expect going into it.
After I learned more about the program, it was my turn to test my decision-making skills when placed in a use-of-force situation. Right away, I realized that even what seemed like simple traffic stops can escalate into a life threatening situation at the blink of an eye. The amount of time it takes to recognize the difference between a firearm and something else in a person’s hand could easily mean disaster for an officer. The next struggle an officer has to face after making the decision to use lethal force is aiming. Growing up around firearms, I thought the easiest part would be hitting my target when needed. I quickly learned that my assumption was totally wrong. Being placed in the high stress, fast-paced situation caused me to get tunnel vision and forget the basics, such as aiming down the sights. At times, my shots missed the target which, in real-life situations, could mean injury or death to an officer or someone else behind the subject. After I finished the program, I spoke with Corporal Pete Leyva (pictured above) about the importance of going through the course and what he thought about the idea of civilians going through the course, as well.
Sergeant Scott White from the Highway Patrol says they have the MILO system available to the public for free at the museum located inside of the Headquarters in Jefferson City, but they should contact the Public Information Department beforehand.