Police training helps save lives

In our editorial yesterday, we mentioned the numerous reforms and changes that Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood has brought to county law enforcement in his 24 years of duty to the people of the county.

One thing we didn’t mention was how he helped change how police and corrections officers across departments throughout the entire county train and prepare for the many different dangerous situations they could face while protecting and serving the public.

Last week, the sheriff’s office conducted one of these advanced training exercises at its dispatch center in Cassopolis. Deputies, correction officers and officers with the Cassopolis Village Police and Dowagiac Police Department all participated in interactive video simulations through the county’s MILO Range system. With simulations ranging from responding to a calls breaking up domestic disputes to a hostage situation in a school building, officers use the system to build upon their reaction times, and, more importantly, help them make split second decisions that could potentially save their own life and the lives of others.

It’s one of two major annual training exercises the sheriff’s office uses to sharpen the skills of local officers, the other using paintballs to simulate actual combat situations. The department has been using the MILO system since the early 2000s, purchasing the equipment outright with Berrien County several years ago, with the counties sharing it at different points in the year.

As police departments across the country come under closer scrutiny over the past year for what some label excessive violence against minority suspects, the lengths that Cass County goes to ensure its officers know how to respond to situations with potentially lethal consequences is commendable.

While impossible to truly simulate the real emotions that run through an officer’s head when he or she encounters a shooting or other dangerous event in real life, these simulations can help police build a sort of muscle memory they can fall back on, to make the best decision possible in the heat of the moment.

Although we hope our law enforcement officers never have to encounter these sorts of tragedies, we are grateful that the county chooses to invest in making sure they are prepared in case they have to make those life or death decisions — for police and the public’s sake.

 

Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.

News

Niles hosts town hall between community, law enforcement

Berrien County

Berrien County Commissioners respond to mask mandate

Berrien County

Local talent development leader honored by Michigan Works! Association

Dowagiac

SMC attracts more than $4 million in grants

Business

Downtown Niles to welcome new dance studio

Berrien County

MEC accepting applications for Strengthening Schools Grant program

Dowagiac

Dowagiac City Council, Cass County Transit Authority renew Transit Operating Agreement

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 976,505 cases, 20,535 deaths

Breaking News

Dowagiac police arrest suspect in Monday hit and run crash

News

Niles City Council approves social district permits

Business

Niles muralist brightening downtown

Buchanan

Buchanan commissioners decline to pay annual dues to Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce

Berrien County

Man arrested after standoff in Niles

Cass County

Police investigating Porter Township crash

Berrien County

Former Niles marijuana business partner pleads guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct

Cass County

Dowagiac police investigate hit-and-run crash

Berrien County

South Bend man gets prison for drunk driving

Business

Under the Harvest Moon festival to bring back scarecrow contest

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 10-13

Berrien County

Former Brandywine teacher sentenced to probation on charges of accosting a child for immoral purposes

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland earns national recognition for stroke treatment

News

Niles Police Log: Aug. 31-Sept. 4

Buchanan

PHOTO STORY: Buchanan remembers 9/11

Cass County

First responders, community members gather for Pokagon 9/11 memorial ceremony