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MILO Firearms Training, an Eye Opener
May 22, 2015
By Catherine Stortz Ripley 

CAPTION: Livingston County Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas takes aim at an assailant in a simulated firearms training video.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

A training tool that simulates real-life, potentially fatal situations that law enforcement officers encounter is getting expanded use this week. Judges, attorneys, media representatives and other community members have been taking part in fast-paced "what-would-you-do" scenarios presented through the program. A domestic violence situation, traffic stop and a courtroom altercation are among a number of scenarios being played out at the Livingston County Sheriff's Office through the MILO firearms training program. The $60,000 program is owned by the Missouri Sheriffs Association Training Academy and is being used as part of the deputy training academy offered through the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. Academy students will receive 16 hours of training using the MILO simulator before graduating next month. The program provides customizable video and audio simulations for training of interactive use of force, tactical judgment training and firearms training. Scenarios can be set at different levels from no need for force to lethal encounter.

Through the program, participants are equipped with the tools that officers would normally find on their duty belt, including a firearm, a taser and a can of mace. The tools, however, are adapted for the MILO program. For example, instead of firing real bullets, the firearm shoots a laser at an intended target on a video screen. While the training unit is in Chillicothe, Sheriff Steve Cox decided to invite others to walk in the path of law enforcement officers and encounter some of the various situations that officers must be prepared to face. He invited judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, county commissioners, media representatives, probation and parole staff, and others to experience the simulator. "It's a good learning tool," Cox said. "It makes it about as lifelike as possible."

At a time when some members of the public accuse officers for using unnecessary force, Cox said this exercise gives people not directly involved with law enforcement something to think about. For example, Cox said, some people may wonder why an officer used deadly force rather than shooting an assailant in the leg or in the hand. Moving hands and legs are difficult targets, Cox said. "Sometimes, we don't have time to aim at the knee cap," he said. "If you took the time, you're dead."

An important goal of the training, Cox added, is to remind officers and future officers that their voices are the most frequently used tool for their job. "It's how you talk with people that can escalate or de-escalate," a situation, Cox said. "But, not always. No matter what, some encounters are always going to be lethal. It doesn't matter who's involved or what agency. Our goal is to go home at the end of our shift, and the people we deal with to see that they go home or if they have to go to jail, they don't have to stop at the hospital or the morgue." "Our goal is not to hurt people," Cox added. "Our goal is to help people. And, part of that is taking responsibility for making sure our officers are trained properly."

The simulator demonstrates how quickly a situation can change direction. "It puts things into perspective," Cox said. The sheriff stated that the training process is a good mind-opening experience for a lot of people, even those who have been involved in law enforcement for many years. "It's humbling for those who have been seasoned in law enforcement because you can't be right every time," Cox said. "As much as you may practice, you may miss."

Livingston County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Mueller is the firearms instructor and is trained on the MILO system for the academy.

C-T, August 13, 2014

CAPTION: The Livingston County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri Sheriffs Association Training Academy began August 7, 2014 through June 5, 2015. Eleven students enrolled and upon completing will obtain a Class A Post Certification. Official dress is one of the topic involved in this training. Pictured: Deputy Will Perez.

C-T Photo / Beth Cox

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri Sheriffs Association Training Academy have joined together to bring a first-time opportunity to Chillicothe/Livingston County and surrounding area. This academy is a 10-month program that began August 7, 2014 and ends June 5, 2015. It focuses on all the fundamentals of law enforcement, including Constitutional law, firearm training, vehicle stops, emergency response, report writing, DWI, criminal and domestic violence investigations. The training also involves physical training and first responder training. Chief Deputy Michael Claypole is the local training coordinator and various employees of the Livingston County Sheriff's Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Prosecuting Attorney Adam Warren, Missouri Sheriffs Training Academy, Carroll County Sheriffs Department, Chillicothe and Trenton police departments and others will be instructors during the academy. Upon completion of the academy, the students will have obtained a Class A Post Certification and are able to seek employment in the state of Missouri as a law enforcement officer. This 700-Hour Basic Law Enforcement Academy is funded from the tuition of students, grants and the Missouri Sheriff's Academy. The instructors during this whole 10 months are working in their time off and as secondary employment to their full time jobs. The employment of the individuals is not an expense to Livingston County and other entities they are employed by. The Livingston County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri Sheriff's Association are both pleased and excited to offer this opportunity to area residents.

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700 Webster Street
Chillicothe, MO 64601