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Shoot, Don't Shoot. What would you do? | News

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Shoot, Don't Shoot. What would you do?
Shoot, Don't Shoot. What would you do?

SUWANEE, Ga. -- At first glance, Meggitt headquarters in Suwanee looks like a video game development center. The software, projection screens, and Bluetooth technology isn't raking up points; it's training police.

After a year of controversial shootings and difficult situations, this is how police departments are better training their officers to make split-second, life-or-death decisions.

They use real weapons in real-life examples.

One of the scenarios Winn Hines, Director of Virtual Programs, shows 11Alive's Ryan Kruger shows a man with a cane. "A trooper mistook a cane for a shotgun. There's a lot of valuable lessons to be learned in a scenario like that," Winn said.

Meggitt Training Systems in Suwanee is the largest supplier of simulated weapons training in the US. The company trains police agencies from across the country and military personnel around the world. Just last year, Meggitt signed multi-million dollar contracts with both the Army and Marine Corps.

The biggest advantage of this training goes back to those real weapons. They're loaded with Bluetooth bullets.

"As you load, it would load the weapon as it would in real life," Meggitt's Eric Perez explains. It means the weight, the timing, even the sound is exactly what the officer or soldier would experience in real life.

Trainers run through scenarios that go from peaceful, to dangerous, and even deadly in a matter of seconds.

"Can you justify the use of force in this scenario?" Hines asks after one simulation.

"Yes he was shooting at me," Kruger answered.

In 2015, simulators are also a cost-savings tool. As the military slashes its budget, virtual training is being used to off-set those cuts. Some military weapons cost $25-$30 per round. The Army uses Meggitt technology to teach the fundamentals of marksmanship without the huge costs.

"It's exactly like it would be if they showed up on a range in the Army," Director of Significant Military Equipment Group Darren Shavers said.

It's a growing Metro Atlanta business facing growing demand. Meggitt Training Systems employees 350 people at it's Gwinnett County headquarters.


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