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New SL County police training simulator shocks 'shot' officers

New SL County police training simulator shocks 'shot' officers


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SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, a KSL investigation revealed there were no standards for how counties investigate officer-involved shootings. In a statewide survey, KSL News discovered at least 14 counties allow departments to investigate crime scenes, even if their own employee is the one who shoots.

It's how it's done in Salt Lake County, but it's something District Attorney Sim Gill wants to change.

He's proposed a new task force that would take the lead after any police shooting to eliminate conflict of interest. He also wants to train officers in real-life conflicts using one of the most realistic training simulators ever created.

It's one of the most advanced simulators on the market. Video screens surround officers. Threats sneak up from every angle.

And it comes with a painful lesson: an electric shock to the body if the officer gets hit.


Are we just going to give lip service to our citizens about public safety? Are we going to give just lip service to our law enforcement officers? Well, this is my community too. And so if we can invest in the safety of our officers and thereby in the safety of our citizens and I have the resources to do it and we all benefit from it collectively, I'll do it.

–Salt Lake County District Attorney Sam Gill


"It's about psycho-dynamics of use of force. It's about the physiological responses of use of force," Gill said. "This is something that's going to give them the best cognitive training that they can have about risk assessment and the use of force."

The system is currently used by the military, Secret Service and law enforcement. The company who makes it says Sim Gill is the first district attorney in the nation to buy one — and he did it out of his own budget.

"The Salt Lake County district attorney's office has invested almost $300,000 of its money to make sure that we train our officers, we keep our community safe, we create a process that is objective and transparent that our citizens can trust," he said.

Gill says that public trust is on the line in the wake of an unresolved police shooting in West Valley City. He believes if officers receive better training, the public will have more trust. And to anyone who says training police isn't his job, Gill had something to say to them.

"Are we just going to give lip service to our citizens about public safety? Are we going to give just lip service to our law enforcement officers? Well, this is my community, too," Gill said. "And so if we can invest in the safety of our officers and thereby in the safety of our citizens and I have the resources to do it and we all benefit from it collectively, I'll do it."

The simulator isn't ready yet — it's been shipped to Utah and should be set up at the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office by mid-summer. Gill says he thinks every officer will want to use it.

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Mike Headrick

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