COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - More than $6.5 million in grants will now be going to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Georgia. At least $200,000 of it will come to some in our area. Those include the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and the Burke County Sheriff's Office. CCSO was awarded $182,598. BCSO was awarded $31,390. Both agencies will use these funds towards new training technology. 

Nearly 30 different agencies trained at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office facilities alone last year. For that reason, this addition is expected not only to benefit Columbia County, but also those who go there in the future. 

Lieutenant Russell Canterbury with CCSO says this is all for a new virtual simulator. This will allow multiple deputies to be placed in the same event. While they do have one now, this new simulator will be more enhanced. Instead of a shoot or don’t shoot situation,  deputies will have more than 100,000 different scenarios to work through such as traffic stops or domestic calls. The technology gives visual cues and immediate feedback.

Lt. Russell Canterbury feels it’s a great investment, 

“With the national focus as it is right now being on use of force, officer-involved use of force and police training, I think this opportunity to increase our training capabilities is probably wise, so important."

It's something he thinks will help with on-the-job readiness, 

"I don't want them having to second guess themselves on the street in that incident. I want them to be confident in what the legal guidelines are, so they can focus on dealing with that situation instead of worrying," said Lt. Canterbury.

FOX 54 also checked in with the Burke County Sheriff's Office. They also plan to use their grant award for a training simulator,

"Our Training Division has been requesting a training simulator for the last several years but it has been cost prohibitive. When the opportunity to apply for this to Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) training grant arose, we applied without hesitation. The system we were most interested in (Ti Training Simulator) will be purchased at a cost of $31,390. Since this is a 100% reimbursable funding program, the Sheriff’s Office will receive this needed training system at no cost to Burke County," said Major Chester Huffman.

No word yet on when this new technology will arrive for Burke and Columbia counties. Stick with FOX 54 for updates.

Copyright 2021 WFXG. All rights reserved.