WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — With shootings in the headlines now more than ever, many law enforcement agencies are working extra hard to make sure they’re prepared. This includes preparing for real life scenarios, like an active shooter. KXAN got an inside look at a special tool officers are using to give them training they need in case they are needed in an emergency.
Inside a mobile trailer, Williamson County Constable Mike Pendley puts his skills to the test. It’s called the Fire Arms Training Simulator; otherwise known as the FATS System. It’s used to create virtual situations any officer could be faced with. Like in a case where officers respond to a shooting at a hospital.
“It can happen any day, any time and we just have to be ready to respond to that,” said Deputy Pendley.
Deputies get to choose from over 900 different scenarios. Everything from a hostage situation to a shooting that takes place in a school. Chief Deputy Constable Mark Birchard says their job now is harder than ever, mostly because mass shootings seem to be on the rise.
“Now we’re having these scenarios where we’re having to react to a deadly force scenarios we never had to deal with before,” said Chief Deputy Birchard.
The FATS system tracks shots fired and even shows the time between each shot.
Deputy Pendley says, “None of us want to go out and kill anybody. I have never woken up in my 13 years and thought oh I want to shoot someone today.”
But this training will make sure those who protect us remain calm even if the most chaotic situations unfold.
The Fire Arms Training Simulator has also been used in other cities including Round Rock, Hutto, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Taylor and Marble Falls. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office has also practiced with it. Austin Police tell us their officers use a similar unit called PRISim while they’re in the training academy.