OWOSSO POLICE OFFICERS Michael Olsey (top left) and Tim Applegate (far right) administered a MILO (Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives) training session on Wednesday, March 7 in the Curwood Building on the Baker College campus in Owosso. Students from criminal justice instructor Rob Michels’ classes participated in the exercise. Michels is a retired major case detective who served 26 years with Livingston County.
The MILO training simulation combines interactive software, a high-resolution image projector and a laser-shooting Glock 22 to provide students with hands-on practice in more than 800 different police response scenarios. Each exercise begins with a description of the scenario, and exercises routinely last less than two minutes. Students are then debriefed by the officers, who are aided by shot accuracy data provided by the MILO software.
Additionally, as the officers walk the students through the exercises, they take note of any unsatisfactory techniques the students are exhibiting and tweak the forthcoming exercises to expose the issues and make corrections.
Owosso Public Safety (OPS) and Baker College of Owosso purchased the equipment approximately two years ago. Each OPS officer undergoes a MILO training once every year, and the equipment is regularly made available to Baker College students. Also, to make their annual exercises more realistic, OPS officers have taken to running beforehand to induce the adrenaline, high blood pressure and increased heart rate that normally accompany a high stress situation.
The simulations have a strong verbal component, with students instructed to interact with on-screen officers, civilians and possible suspects. Students are taught how to approach each situation, and when a weapon should be holstered, held in the low ready position or held in the high ready position. Officer Olsey noted that OPS officers respond to, on average, five calls per week that require officers to un-holster their weapons, so this basic teaching point is essential at every level of law enforcement.
One of the biggest points the MILO simulator demonstrates is how little reaction time an officer in the field actually has when deciding whether or not to draw their weapon. One particular scenario features a seemingly unarmed man positioned at a distance of 31 feet from the officer, whose weapon is holstered. The man suddenly pulls a knife and runs at the officer, who draws and fires. The exercise is repeated from distances of 21 and 15 feet, at which point reaction time virtually disappears.
OPS has not attempted to bogart the MILO technology, and has instead facilitated training sessions for many of its neighboring Shiawassee County law enforcement agencies.