Last week, board members from the Brays Oaks and Southwest management districts, along with Houston Police Department Commander Craig Bellamy, unveiled a new Laser Shot portable training system that will allow for practical training in a virtual environment for HPD Command in the Patrol 3 Region.

The simulators will provide immediate feedback opportunities for officers to master basic weapon fundamentals. Rather than sending officers to 17000 Aldine Westfield to the HPD Training Academy, officers from the Midwest, Northwest, South Gessner, Southwest and Westside substations will now be able to train on-site at their own station on a rotating basis.

Commander Bellamy of South Gessner is a huge proponent of training. In 2018, the Southwest District provided $5,000 to Commander Bellamy for a training budget; the District also spent another $6,000 to print training manuals for officers at South Gessner. The Brays Oaks District contributed $15,000 to South Gessner to assist with additional off-site training.

At the unveiling, Brays Oaks board members Starla Turnbo and Sheri Cortez and David Peters of the Southwest District reaffirmed their commitment to helping support the training needs of local law enforcement, which will in turn help save lives in the districts they serve.

Like physicians or teachers or other professionals, it is vital for law enforcement to receive ongoing training. Through the new Laser Shot equipment, officers will be trained to respond to a variety of situations. The equipment has some “scenarios” to choose from, but Commander Bellamy and his officers from South Gessner will also videotape new scenarios to add to the training program.

“Just as officers need to build muscle memory to qualify using their firearm, they need to build muscle memory to consistently work to communicate with citizens and de-escalate situations,” said Commander Bellamy. He added that, like any training, de-escalation training must start at a basic level and ramp up, with successful repetition key to an officer’s success.

The simulator offers hundreds of single and multi-incident scenarios that allow officers to train for citizen interaction, de-escalation, domestic violence, suicide calls and much more, Bellamy said.