Ithaca area law enforcement participate in â??Reality Based Trainingâ??

The Ithaca Police Department, along with the Tompkins County Sheriffâ??s Department and the Cornell University Police Department, are conducting joint "Reality Based Training" this week.

The local media were invited to observe the training, which featured role playing by police officers involving the use of deadly force.

The training sessions test an officerâ??s ability to respond to a variety of complains, where he or she may encounter an armed suspect.

In the scenario CNY Central observed, two police officers encountered a "bad guy" who had shot and killed several people. The officers were judged on their ability to "end the threat."

The officers were also judged on their ability to deescalate situations without the use of physical force, deciding when to use physical force and what physical force is justified to be used, how to communicate with emotionally distraught individuals, and to diffuse a multitude of events ranging from everyday calls to those calls that may involve an active shooter.

The media was invited to witness the training in response to inquires about the Ithaca Policeâ??s preparation for incidents similar to what occurred in Newtown, CT.

Police say their response to active shooter incidents has changed over the last 15 years, most notably since the school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

In the past, officers have waited for the SWAT Team to arrive and handle the situation, but that means waiting for them to respond, coordinating a plan, then implementing a strategy while innocent victims are left at risk.

The more recent approach involves training every officer to respond to the scene of any active shooter incident, locating the suspect and stopping them as soon as possible.