FORT MYERS, Fla.- As a police officer, training is often the difference between life and death. The Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) has a chance to test its officers more often, but it comes at a hefty price.
The Fort Myers Police Foundation wants to raise $60,000 to buy a firearm training simulator (FATS) machine
“It’s about decision making,” said Captain James Mulligan.
The machine works very much like a video game. Officers are told to interact with the screen, talk to it, and sometimes, if need be, shoot at it. It’s all controlled by another officer.
“We can change so that you don’t know what’s going to happen. Not every scenario is a shoot scenario. It’s critical training, it always has been,” said Mulligan.
The simulator also allows police officers to see where they shoot and how many times shots were fired. It allows them to be reviewed right after the situation happens.
FMPD can only afford to rent the machine twice a year because of budget restraints, so not every officer gets a chance to train, and train often.
That’s where the foundation wants to help. The group of retired businessmen wants to raise the money, to buy FMPD their own FATS machine.
Having gone through the machine himself, Larry Romano says the need is there.
“It’s for the training and safety of a police officer. It’s also for the public, if we can avoid a police officer shooting when he doesn’t have to shoot,” said Romano.
With their own machine, officers will have access to that kind of training, 24/7, every day of the year.
“Isn’t that better? To avoid a situation than to have something like a Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland or NYC. We think it is,” said Romano.
To raise money, the foundation is holding their 2nd annual golf tournament Monday in hopes to raise the money. Registration is open until the tournament begins. It costs $200 a golfer, with a chance to win $100,000.
For information on how to sign up, visit: www.fortmyerspolicefoundation.org