MANKATO — Eagle Lake police officers John Kopp and Teila Baynes approached two men suspected of drug dealing from behind.
Baynes pulls her Taser, yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!” to her partner so he knows to pull his gun as the suspects rush to get off their bikes. It’s important, Baynes said, for one of them to have a non-deadly option depending upon how the situation unfolds.
“Let me see your hands!” Kopp yells repeatedly.
One of the men flees and the other spins around and pulls a weapon. Both officers fire their weapons. With the suspect on the ground, the officers turn to Mike Ardolf, law enforcement skills coordinator with Rasmussen College in Eagan, and see how they did on the video simulation training exercise.
“That all evolved real quickly,” Ardolf said, pulling up the screen to show where the officers fired. “You would have been right on line with the target. So good shot.”
Numerous scenarios played out like this Thursday on the MILO Video Scenario Training at Rasmussen College. About 20 officers from the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office and police departments within Blue Earth County took part in the free training, coordinated by Eagle Lake Chief Phil Wills, in conjunction with the Blue Earth County Chiefs Association; Ardolf; and Celeste Voss, community development manager at Rasmussen.
Wills said there aren’t many places for officers to go to receive this kind of hands-on training, which is why he was glad to accept Rasmussen’s offer to bring the MILO system to Mankato. The system gives officers the chance to practice their skills and be reminded of how fast things can happen in any given situation. Ardolf said about 200 officers per year use the system in Eagan.
“It’s real-life scenarios,” Wills said.
“But if they make a mistake, nobody gets hurt,” Ardolf said after Baynes’ and Kopp’s exercise.