Weatherford City Council approved a zoning change and authorized Weatherford Police Department to apply for grant funding during an 11-minute meeting on Tuesday at city hall.
WPD is applying for a $45,000 grant to buy a Use of Force Training Simulator, which is an interactive computer system that can help police trainees further learn how to handle certain situations. The system portrays a scenario on a large screen that trainees and instructors can interact with, WPD Chief Lance Arnold said.
“The trainee interacts with the subject or subjects in the scenario and the instructor has the ability to branch the scenario according to the actions of the trainee,” Arnold said. “For example, if the trainee is using proper de-escalation techniques, the instructor can branch the scenario to a more compliant subject. The instructor can also introduce various levels of resistance to the trainee’s lawful commands or actions causing the trainee to quickly decide the most appropriate response to that resistance from pepper spray to baton to TASER, or even lethal force.”
The system allows trainees and instructors to evaluate the trainee’s actions, which are recorded by the system, Arnold said. The training can include challenges like low-light encounters, multiple subjects and multiple places such as schools and businesses.
The system includes the screen, projector, computer, more than 800 training scenarios, weapons systems and less lethal options.
WPD already trains officers on how to handle certain scenarios, but the Use of Force Training Simulator can expose officers to more training scenarios in a shorter amount of time, Arnold said.
“With the simulator, we can expose our officers to six scenarios in 30 minutes while they are on duty,” Arnold said. “We can schedule the scenario training quarterly thus giving our officers more opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled environment while also reducing training time and overtime costs. Our ultimate goal is to expose our officers to as many types of realistic situations in the training environment in an effort to enhance their skills and safety and to ultimately provide the highest level of professional service possible to our citizens.”
The grant is a Justice Assistance Grant, which is provided by the federal government through Texas’ governor’s office and local councils of government, Arnold said. The awards are usually given in October. WPD has applied before and been awarded side by side UTV, four-wheelers and golf cart two years ago.
Council members also approved a zoning change from C1 commercial to C1 with a conditional use permit for an auto repair facility at 200 W. Fourth St. The approval comes with several conditions from city staff such as landscaping, setting hours of operation and repairing and striping the parking lot.
“The area along that corridor is zoned C1 commercial,” City Planner Stan Hamrick said during the meeting. “This particular use because it has a higher intensity, possible visibility issues, things like that, requires a conditional use permit.”
This item was previously tabled by the council at their last meeting.