Less than 5 miles from VirTra’s HQ, Gilbert Police Department has built an impressive training program for officers from rookies to veterans. The goal behind it is simple: keeping officers and the community they serve safe. There was no denying that Sgt. Bill Campbell, Gilbert PD’s Training Sergeant for the Gilbert Police Academy, cares greatly about the success of the training program and those he instructs.

The 52-acre facility in Gilbert, Arizona is shared by both their police and fire departments. Not only is the building integrated for all aspects of public safety, but training is too. There is no need to drive across the city to get to a range or a driving test track.

Scenario-based learning – or even classroom learning where students learn the theories behind their actions – is traditionally segmented from marksmanship training. Sgt. Campbell believes it is not enough to teach only on a range and in a classroom – there must be a way to get students into the environment to practice, but in a safe and secure way.

Gilbert PD officers and recruits at the Gilbert Police Academy can use real firearms within their 5-screen V-300® simulator. This allows them to not only get practice with their real duty weapon, but also go through a multitude of scenarios. Each scenario is modeled after real life incidents and authored by subject matter experts who are retired officers themselves. The video below shows two Gilbert officers going through an active shooter scenario, learning how to respond at the right time.

What can also be seen in the video is a custom Action Target range. While VirTra’s V-Marksmanship program is highly accurate, nothing can quite mirror the training provided on an actual range. Their indoor range is big enough to allow a squad car to enter, stop, and have students exit the vehicle and begin shooting targets.

Sgt. Campbell spoke highly of the capabilities of both his simulator and indoor range. As an experienced instructor, his words are not only inspiring to us, but helpful to other law enforcement agencies who wish to find an integrated training style.

“I have been a professional instructor for more than 25 years now, and I teach all over the country. I have seen pretty much every type of range there is and every type of simulator there is. My experience has been that the VirTra simulator system is the gold standard.” –Sgt. Campbell

It is also important to mention the evolution of training over the years. Sitting in a classroom for the entirety of the learning process will not engross students in the topic(s) or give them the proper practice needed to succeed in their careers. “A practical test may have worked in my day, 30 years ago, but it’s not as effective today,” said Sgt. Campbell, addressing the need to keep students engaged so learning retention increases.

Unlike training for other careers or job positions, law enforcement is one where mistakes can be costly – and not just monetarily. Lives are at stake, and that is why it is important to dedicate as much as possible to a well-designed training program. To learn more about VirTra’s simulator training options, contact a specialist.