The Bradford County Commissioners have been vocal about their support of police in recent months.
Last Thursday, their support of the thin blue line took on the form of a $30,000 donation to the Mansfield University Municipal Officers’ Education and Training Commission. The donation, which was made Aug. 31 and ratified Thursday, will help fund maintenance and updates to the technology used to train municipal police around the region, according to Sheriff C.J. Walters.
One of the key elements used to train local police is a virtual reality simulator, which Walters has become a trained instructor for and has put his entire staff through.
“(The simulator) is unbelievable,” he said.
The simulator provides a variety of scenarios including de-escalation and active shooter situations. Walters said it’s as close to handling real responses as one can get.
“It puts it in perspective,” Walters explained. “It makes them use communication skills, it makes them use their use of force (knowledge), it makes them go from maybe a shoot to not shoot situation. … Where we are in society today, this training is critical and we’re lucky to have it 40 minutes from here. I encourage all law enforcement agencies to utilize it. Some are. I know we do and it is very beneficial. It just makes them a better person to deal with a situation on the street.”
Thursday’s donation was the second that commissioners have made to Mansfield University in recent years. Commissioner Doug McLinko said as long as the budget allows, they should make this donation every year.
“We support our police,” McLinko said, “and (Police Services Director) Scott Henry really does an outstanding job over there – and so do you, C.J.”