The F.A.T.S. is an interactive system that enables officers to make "shoot - don't shoot" decisions and review the results in a controlled training environment. This device allows officer the opportunity to practice their verbal direction, use of cover, weapon handling, and observation skills while in the presence of a state certified Firearms Instructor. Once the exercise is complete, the officer given feedback on his or her judgment, timing, and shot placement.
The system, purchased with $63,000 of asset forfeiture money, projects onto a 7' by 9' screen which results in nearly life-sized encounters. The officer engages the scenario with a .40 cal Smith and Wesson, which is exactly like their service weapon. This weapon is loaded with a single round that emits a laser when the trigger is pulled. The video screen records the shot and reacts appropriately, depending on whether the shot was a miss, a non-lethal hit, or a lethal hit.
The FATS system uses training disks which contain numerous scenarios, each with a number of different endings. For example, one of the disks (an LAPD version) has 29 different scenarios with multiple branching endings. These endings can be dictated by the instructor, or in reaction to the performance of the participant. The scenarios cover a wide range of situations including breaking and entering, routine foot patrol, and calls for service.
At the end of the scenario, the officer is given the chance to critique themselves on their performance in a number of areas. The officer's approach and use of cover, verbal commands or direction, and most importantly, decision making skills in regard to deadly force. A state certified firearms instructor is always on hand to provide any additional instruction or critique as well.
The FATS system is currently used in Recruit Training, Officer Survival Courses, S.W.A.T. training, and the Citizen's Academy. The civilian's response to the simulator is overwhelming. This activity allows the civilian to experience the split second decision making process that an officer must go through when using deadly force and provides them with a new perspective in regards to lethal force issues.