Simulator presents challenges police face during high-speed pursuits

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 7/18/2012 3:08 am

You won't need a quarter to play this game. It's free and is schooling law enforcement across the state.  A driving simulator teaches officers skills behind the wheel. It prepares them for challenges such as high speed pursuits. One out of every 100 police pursuits results in death. 

Don Courtney with the Texas Association of Counties said, "We want the officers to be able to go home at night and be with their families."

Courtney pulls a trailer equipped with the "training game room." He visits law enforcement agencies across the state.

"Statistics show that we kill more officers by vehicles than we do by gunfire," he said.

Lubbock has seen its share of high speed pursuits. In October 2011, 35-year old Graciano Quezada robbed a Wells-Fargo Bank at 50th and Quaker. He led police on a high speed chase that didn't end until it reached the Lynn County. Quezada sentenced to years behind bars.

In June, Hale County Deputies were serving an arrest warrant, when Michael Akin made a break for it, speeding across two counties for 30 minutes. He was arrested after a standoff with police at a house near Idalou. 

Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe said, "It is a great tool to help our officers when they are out, and be in a better position to respond safely, particularly when they have to operate in emergency conditions and high rates of speed."

"Getting into the driving simulator as you saw,  you take those habits with you, whether you are driving with one hand or two hands or whether you are
cutting a corner and things like that," Courtney said.

The simulator depicts real life challenges like adapting to changing weather conditions, or processing multiple calls from dispatch. Of course, while behind the wheel you have to keep your focus on the job.

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