Chicago Police Academy implements 'revolutionary' simulator with realistic weapons, unpredictable situations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Anjanette Young case has already prompted changes in a new simulator training program at the Chicago Police Academy.

The simulator is in response to consent decree reform efforts and is designed to help officers better respond to situations where things aren't so cut and dry.

Over 700 active duty officers have already tested on the force options simulator with realistic weapons and unpredictable situations.

"The person who is running the simulator can change the outcome of the scenario," explained Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief Daniel Godsel.

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Godsel called the simulator revolutionary, not just for the variety of potential outcomes, but for a new emphasis on what is going through an officer's mind.

"In these kind of very high stress situations, people tend to fall back on automatic thinking and start making assumptions and mental shortcuts," said Oeindrila Dube with the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The Crime Lab helped craft a new curriculum to better prepare officers for encounters funding breathing techniques and discussions.

"You don't wanna 'catastrophize' the situation thinking that this is going to be the worst outcome," said Officer Trak Silapaduriyang.

CPD focused this training on what it said are the most common scenarios.

The simulation does not include a search warrant execution gone wrong, like the incident inviting Anjanette Young.

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"We consistently review our curriculum and update, modify as needed," Godsel said.

"Training does matter but culture, I would argue, matters more," said Young's attorney, Keenan Saulter.

CPD has already added situations similar to this spring's civil unrest.

Godsel said the department is also reviewing how it can better emphasize basic decency.

"What we're striving for is significant and durable reform," he said.
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