HANNIBAL, Mo. — Officers at the Hannibal Police Department spend numerous hours training for different scenarios. The complexity of that training took a significant step forward recently when HPD’s MILO Force Options Simulator went into service.
“Everyone involved thus far seems excited by the opportunity to have something like the MILO system under roof,” said Police Chief Lyndell Davis. “The ability to utilize the system as the department desires is greatly advantageous.”
According to Davis, the new device will help his officers to be better prepared for any number of situations they might be confronted with when out in the field.
“The MILO Force Simulator is a great asset for any law enforcement agency to have,” Davis said. “In an age when law enforcement is under such great scrutiny, having equipment such as the MILO Force Simulator allows us to provide even more training to better prepare our officers in order to protect the public, themselves and de-escalate situations when circumstances permit.”
Having a simulator is invaluable for a number of reasons.
“The advantages are numerous, ranging from de-escalation tactics, shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, overall decision-making, etc.,” Davis said. “The issue with extreme weather is for the most part eliminated as long as electricity is available. Since everything is indoors we don’t have to contend with snow, ice, wind, rain or extreme cold or heat.
“Another great advantage is the ability to create our own training scenarios using structures or geographical locations unique to Hannibal.”
Davis said that nearly $90,000 has been spent for the purchase of the equipment and installation.
“The bulk of the MILO system was paid for by funds we obtained from our share of the U.S. Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program,” he said. “We were eligible for the funds due to a narcotics investigation our Anti-Crime Enforcement Squad investigated in November 2018 in which a large quantity of cash was seized along with a sizable amount of narcotics.”
With federal funds available there was little doubt in Davis’ mind on how he wanted to invest it to best benefit the department.
“We were familiar with MILO equipment since the city of Hannibal’s insurance carrier, MIRMA, brought one in once a year for all the officers to train on,” Davis said. “MIRMA’s system only utilizes one screen compared to ours that has three screens, plus our system allows us to develop our own video recorded scenarios. We can film local buildings, parks or situations that might be unique to the Hannibal area.”
Because HPD’s system features more than one screen, multiple officers can train at the same time.
“You are limited only by the number of training weapons you have. However, in all practicality it is best with four or less to train on it at a time. In most training sessions there will be one or two officers at a time,” Davis said.
While HPD’s MILO system arrived a couple of months ago the actual installation wasn’t completed until early February. The installation occurred over a three-day period. The training of the department’s in-house operators of the system took place over an additional two days.
“In total five HPD officers were trained in how to operate the system,” Davis said.
The MILO simulator will not just benefit HPD personnel, according to Davis.
“The goal is to offer the use of the MILO system to other law enforcement agencies in the area. In the near future we plan on contacting agencies on both sides of the river and offer them an opportunity to benefit from what the equipment has to offer,” he said.