It is a terrible reality that the probability of active shooting happening to our workplaces or our children’s schools has become a matter of when and not if. Schools, law enforcement, emergency responders – have all been undergoing extensive training. From tabletop exercises, simulations, and drills, with one goal in mind – so that we’re prepared and equipped to keep safe if we experience such atrocity first-hand.
On today’s Justice Clearinghouse course, two knowledgeable resources introduce us to a new type of training that aims to identify and address the gaps that existing training procedures cannot. Milt Nenneman is the Manager for First Responder Coordination at the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology First Responders Group, while Robert Walker is the Program Manager for Cole Engineering Services, Inc. Together with their team of law enforcement and gaming technology experts, they came up with an innovative training tool aptly called the EDGE.
Milt and Bob discuss on the webinar what the Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) virtual training tool is, its functions, features, and presents a live demonstration of the capabilities of the tool. Specifics that they covered include:
An introduction reviewing the background of EDGE and how the tool is developed with the goal of:
- Addressing identified capability gaps
- Providing a tool that can be used by a large number of individuals
- Cross-training responders across multiple disciplines
- Allowing flexibility to integrate local tactics and protocols
- The development stage of EDGE and how DHS collaborated with the US Army and Cole Engineering to create a tool that can execute all of the requirements.
- A video and demonstration of the EDGE training platform that exhibits its open sandbox characteristics with limited AI, allows administrator omniscient function, after action playback, and real-life interactions.
- Video demonstration for both the Hotel and School environment giving the audience a snapshot of the controls, scenarios, functions and other features that are incorporated into the training simulation tool/game.
The program goals defined for the new EDGE school environment that allows:
- Flexible and independent access to training
- Realistic roles and capabilities
- Variability of human behavior that prevents ‘gaming the game’
- Agnostic tactics that can be used in conjunction with any response approach or protocol
- Scalability for the number of participants and complexity
- Various communication channels and noise
- Allows different scenarios (i.e., not just active shooting, may also be used for hostage, robbery, etc.)
The benefits of virtual training including:
- Its ability to be conducted at the point of need without having to disrupt regular affairs/business
- Encouraging real-time learning by reinforcing positive and correcting negative decisions/actions
- Training based on local procedures
- The various training capabilities that promote learning and creates realistic scenarios, roles, and actions without the mess and cost of large-scale exercises.
- Poll questions asked the attendees of their prior participation in Active Shooter Training Courses, their institutions’ action plan in case of an active shooter incident, and training for other critical events.
Milt and Bob utilized the Q&A segment to exhaustively answer the participants’ clarifications and inquiries about the EDGE tool. Some of their concerns relate to:
- The technology and specifications necessary to run the program
- The different roles that may be used available in the game
- The roll-out of the EDGE School Environment
- The waitlist procedure and expected timeline to gain access to EDGE
- Granting access to different individuals within a system
- Applying for the new School environment
- Training tools for administrators and trainers of the system
- The need for a real person to play the roles in the simulation game
- Administrator rights when it comes to controlling and configuring scenarios
- The learning curve to get used to the controls
- Real-time interaction and decision features of the game
- Using the tool for other scenarios
- Streamlining requests across different departments within one institution