CO Department of Corrections Saves $90,000 by Using Use-of-Force Training Simulator

The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) received Governor Bill Owens' STAR Award (State Top Achievement Recognition) for saving $90,000 by revamping its Basic Training Remedial Firearms Program using a use-of-force digital training simulator.

Over the last several years, the CDOC lost approximately 20-25 staff annually due to firearms qualification failures. In a move to combat the staff loss, the CDOC developed a custom remedial firearms training program using the Range 3000. The simulated training on the Range 3000 mirrors exactly what the trainees need to do in order to qualify with live ammunition.

"Our department was able to retain 16 out of 17 recruits since December 2004 due to the Range 3000's hands-on, basic firearms training capabilities utilized in the remedial firearms training program," said Capt. Jere Chaddick, basic training and use of force supervisor for the CDOC. "On average, it costs about $6,000 to send a correctional officer through basic training."

Since receiving the STAR Award, the CDOC has upgraded its training system to IES' new MILO Training & Presentation System, an advanced suite of training products that incorporate use-of-force simulation, classroom training modules and presentation system technology to provide a total training solution.

The central component within the MILO system is software that allows organizations to create interactive curricula and courseware that can be used across any MILO training system.

"I was impressed by the fact that I can design an exercise in which trainees go directly from answering questions on a keypad into the use-of-force simulator," said Cheryl Webster, media support specialist for the CDOC.

The CDOC and IES recently completed filming of 40 custom scenarios to be used on MILO. Filming took place at eight locations including cell areas, guard towers, fence lines, medical areas, visitation areas, food service and recreation areas and transport scenes.

One training exercise includes emergency response situations in which CDOC officers use National Incident Management System (NIMS) terminology to prepare for the department's NIMS communication conversion by 2007. The CDOC is the first correctional facility nationwide to initiate a NIMS training program on MILO.

Developed by the Department of Homeland Security, NIMS is the first-ever standardized approach to incident management and response. NIMS establishes a uniform set of processes and procedures that emergency responders at all levels of government will use to conduct response operations.

"Once our department is NIMS-compliant, we can apply for federal grants," explains Chaddick. "Using MILO to prepare, we plan on a NIMS communication conversion by 2007."

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