Ryan Schatzberg, a trainer from MILO Range, demonstrates the computerized, interactive firearms simulator unit SFCC purchased to enhance instruction in the Criminal Justice program. (Courtesy of SFCC)

State Fair Community College will begin using a computerized, interactive firearms simulator unit to enhance instruction in the Criminal Justice program.

The unit, made by MILO Range of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is comprised of a computer, camera and simulated handguns that shoot lasers, allowing students to react in various “shoot or don’t shoot” scenarios.

James D. Cunningham, Criminal Justice instructor, said the unit is designed to help students better understand the split-second decision-making skills needed by law enforcement officers on a daily basis.

“This unit will not necessarily be used to teach shooting skills, although it is capable of that,” said Cunningham. “Our purpose is to show students how difficult it can be to make decisions in the field and how quickly they have to react based on circumstances we will provide for them.”

Cunningham said working with the unit can help students better understand how events such as the recent shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, can happen. It also can give them skills to help make more appropriate decisions in related careers.

“We hope this equipment will help give students another tool to help them properly evaluate their chosen career paths,” he said.

Ryan Schatzberg, a trainer from MILO Range, provided training in a “Train the Trainer” format April 1 at SFCC for Cunningham, Sedalia Chief of Police John DeGonia, Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond, and Lee’s Summit Police Officer Brad Anders. DeGonia, Bond and Anders are adjunct instructors in the Criminal Justice program.

The Board of Trustees in January approved the purchase of the simulator, which cost $14,495. A Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education enhancement grant paid for 75 percent of the cost; the college’s operating budget paid 25 percent.

(Courtesy of SFCC)