WARREN - Officers walk through a school building where there were reports of gunfire. A bright flash is seen, and the sound of gunfire heard.
An officer falls to the ground, blood gushing from a shoulder wound. He commands the others on the scene to continue moving forward.
As they turn the corner, the officers spot a man holding a gun to the head of a man who is kneeling on the hallway floor.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Raymond L. Smith
Warren police Patrolman Trevor Sumption participates in a simulated firearm training. In the training, Sumption walks into a domestic situation in which the husband pulls a gun.
Officers open fire, killing the suspect, but not before he shoots the man he is holding.
It all happens in less than one minute.
That scenario is one of several dozen being shown to officers from Warren, Lordstown, Niles, and the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office as part of a three-day Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
Joseph Sidoti, a training officer with the program, has been telling officers that less than 50 of the 1,100 officers who have gone through the program were able to shoot fast enough to kill the suspect before the victim was killed.
In this scenario, the suspect shoots the victim within 46 seconds of the confrontation beginning.
"We are not here to judge whether someone is right or wrong," Sidoti said. "We're looking at the officers' reactions."
The mobile training program has been operating in Ohio since October 2012, according to Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
"It is designed to have a minimum impact on the budgets of local law enforcement agencies," she said. "It is paid for through a two percent contribution from the state's casino funds. It is not costing the taxpayers any money."
The mobile station has traveled to approximately 50 sites and been used by about 140 law enforcement agencies. "We have about 200 departments across the state that we would like to get to," Sidoti said.
While the simulators are not new, Del Greco said having the mobile units take them to communities across the state is unique to Ohio.
In a different scenario in which shots are fired in a school, the officers approach a man who has his back to them and is clearly holding a small black object.
The body of a child is just a few feet away from the suspect.
When the man turns, he is holding a cell phone and says he was just calling 911.
Neither Warren patrolman Trevor Sumption nor Sgt. Bryan Holmes shot at the suspect.
Sidoti asked whether the officers, as they walked toward the suspect, had their trigger fingers on the trigger of their weapons. One said he did. The other did not.
Sidoti explained that in some situations, especially in tight quarters, having a finger on the trigger could have caused an accidental shooting.
"About 30 percent of the officers fired their weapons," Sidoti said.
While the firearm training goes on inside the Warren Police Department on South Street, another type of course is being taught outside.
A clearly marked training trailer parked outside the station holds a full-size driving simulator. Here officers take part in driving scenarios such as police chases and other situations.
Out of 126 line-of-duty deaths among Ohio law enforcement officers, 42 were caused by motor vehicle crashes.
Similar to the firearm training, the driving simulation program puts officers into a variety of situations they may face in the real world.
Warren police Lt. Dan Mason said the mobile training programs are very important to making the streets safer for both police officers and citizens because it place officers in positions they may face in the field.
"When the chief (Eric Merkel) was promoted, this is one of the things he wanted to get done." Mason said. "He believes increased training is vital."
The training wraps up today.