Sussex County debuts Firearm Training Similator


Newton Police Department Det. Joe D'Annibale (L) and Sparta Township Police Department Sgt. Adam Carbery (R) demonstrate an armed intruder scenario on the county's new FATS (Firearm Training Simulator) equipment during a training exercise at the Andover Township Fire Department on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. 

Andover Township - Sparta Township Police Sgt. Adam Carbery ordered a man in a ski mask to drop his weapon, and when the man instead charged upstairs toward the officer, Carbery made the split-second decision to draw his weapon and fire several rounds. He watched as the man fell to the floor, then the Sgt. radioed for help, before the monitor screen went blank and the computer began a debriefing session.
Sgt. Carbery, along with Newton Police Department Joe D’Annibale, was demonstrating the county’s new Firearm Training Simulator (FATS) during a “train the trainer” class held Friday, Feb. 22, at the Andover Township Fire Department. The technology, which was purchased entirely through Sussex County Police Chiefs’ Association fundraising, consists of a projector box, projection screen with feedback camera, mock weapons with infrared sensors, and software which can be run on a tablet or laptop.
The portable training system gives the county law enforcement the ability to condense training time, lower overtime costs and shooting range fees, and provide hundreds of real-life scenarios. The software also has programming for basic target practice and shooting range drills. Up to four officers can use the equipment simultaneously, allowing for training scenarios including; domestic violence, active shooter, school shootings, and emotional disturbance calls.
Carbery, a U.S. Army veteran who has been with the Sparta Police Department for 16 years, noted the simulator is a positive, useful tool.
“As a firearms instructor, I know the interactions and key elements in the scenarios will help us expand on each training,” he said, “We can even go over basic shooting fundamentals in-house. It’s a good system, very realistic, and it can be updated regularly. It’s virtually limitless.”
Carbery said it also boosts interagency cooperation, which is a fundamental mission of the Chiefs’ Association, where they’ve been encouraging cross-department training forto standardize procedures and improve mutual aid.
Newton Police Chief Mike Richards, who is also president of the Chiefs’ Association, is thrilled with the purchase.
“This is something that benefits the whole county,” Richards said, “And not just for the firearms aspect. We can use this technology in our CIT (crisis intervention team) trainings and de-escalation training. This raises the bar on our trainings and will help us keep the bar raised. With over 300 law enforcement officers in Sussex County, including the Sheriff’s Office and the State Police barracks, we can pass this system around and keep all the departments trained and up to date.”
Andover Township Police Department Ptl. Ed Diklich is pleased with the flexibility of the FATS system.
“We can go over so many tactics in a controlled environment, going through the scenarios and using the lessons to our advantage,” Diklich said, “And it will give us ease of scheduling; no more trying to get all the shifts together for training or range time. This is really going to help us cut costs and save time.”
Andover Township’s Chief of Police Eric Danielson noted it helps exceed the standards of preparedness they’d set for themselves.
“It really puts our trainings in perspective,” Danielson said, “We want to go above and beyond what’s required. We are never happy with the minimum.”