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Behind The Scenes Of Camden County's State-Of-Art Simulator Helping Police Officers Train For Active Shooter Situations

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- As communities across the country question how their police departments train for active shooters following the Uvalde elementary school mass shooting, the Camden County Police Department said its state-of-the-art active shooter simulator is preparing its officers to quickly confront deadly situations.

The VirTra 300 simulator allows Camden County officers to work through more than 300 different scenarios, from active shooters to de-escalating a gunman holding a hostage.

The officers stand on a platform, where they're surrounded by several large screens They're equipped with a gun that's the same model as an officer's duty gun, but it blows out CO2, instead of real bullets.

A device on the officer's belt sends a jolt of electricity to the officer if a virtual gunman shoots and hits the officer.

"You get sucked in really quick," K9 Officer Wil Ramos said. "When I eliminated the one threat that was all the way in this corner over here, I forgot that where I was in this platform."

Raphael Thornton is a retried Camden police sergeant who came back to train the next generation of officers.

"Our officers are only as good as their training they receive," Thornton said. "It allows our officers to go in and stop the threat without hesitation because, in an active shooter, time is of essence."

The simulator monitors an officer's heart rate, teaching them to slow down their heart rate and breathing, while their brain is making several split-second decisions that can be the difference between life and death.

The department actively reviews officers' body camera video and bring them in for remediation if they notice techniques that need to be addressed.

Officers are expected to cycle through the simulator multiple times a month.

"We have to be as perfect as we possibly can," Thornton said. "The only way to do that is to train, train for perfection."

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