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A Case of Power

Back in the day of video disk players and 486 PCs, I sold 20 Use of Force Training Simulator Systems to the Ontario Provincial Police.

This included the development of new video footage of bad guys doing bad things with various outcomes. The trainees (Police Recruits) were equipped with real guns that had been modified to shoot light rather than bullets. They stood in front of a life sized video screen where they encountered the kinds of scenarios they would soon face in real life.

If they shot a bad guy, he'd fall down. If they got too close, he might jump up with a knife. If they did the "right" thing, everything would worked out fine.

It was cool, but as you might imagine, even developing the storyboards was full of political challenges. Too many ethnic bad guys? That dress is too short! What does this say about the police attitude toward...?

The Acting Training Commissioner at the OPP Aylmer Training Facility knew how to handle it. She welcomed 35 special interest groups onto the Review Committee.

She made it clear that all their input would be taken into account. But, on the second round, given that we had listened to their input, the option would be a go/no-go situation. She'd just trash the scenario.

What did she know about her market? She knew that the most important thing to them was that they were heard. She knew that they were responsible and that they truly wanted Police Use of Force to be better. She knew they would compromise if they knew the repercussions of not comprising. She knew that she needed to be fully transparent. She knew them intimately.

We developed 10 branching scenarios and deployed  units throughout Ontario. I think they are still in use.