The City of Sacramento Police and Fire Departments can now train together for response to possible terrorist attacks with an interactive video game simulator.
Wednesday, dozens of officers, firefighters, dispatchers, and incident commanders simulated a response to terrorists who took over a hotel and set several fires inside.
As a dispatcher radioed a shooting in a lobby, Police Sergeant Joshua Dobson is controlling the actions of one of the terrorists.
"We can actually set off I.E.D.'s with our characters and place them as tools that the officers have to recognize or even start a fire as opposed to just shooting."
Fire alarms and gun shots serve as background sound as the first responders try to communicate with each other and with dispatch. Fire Captain Jim Edmiston says before this exercise, the two departments trained separately.
"So, we really don't do any cross-training at all. We just kind of deal with it when we get a call."
One of the officers tells dispatch there are "multiple people down."
For Police Sergeant Todd Edgerton, the training will take some getting used to. His video game avatar was killed when he dropped his gun and couldn't pick it up.
"There are certain things you would do in the real world that you can't do in video-game world -just tactical movements we do that are very difficult to simulate on screen."
All of the trainees actions are recorded to be used during the training review. The program's next generation includes 3-D glasses, a weapon, and treadmill attached to each computer.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army bought the game and are providing it for free.
The Sacramento Unified School District is in talks to provide the layout of a school to be used for school officers to train with the departments next year for the situation of a shooter on campus.