Expensive police training tool sits in closet at Bay Pines VA

8 On Your Side

BAY PINES, Fla. (WFLA) — An expensive shooting-simulator purchased by the VA at Bay Pines is rarely used. In fact, Target 8 has learned the training simulator has spent most of its four years in boxes, sitting in a close at the Bay Pines police station.

A shooting simulator puts officers in life-like situations in which they sharpen skills to survive and stop a shooter.

At Bay Pines, the VA really doesn’t have a place to set it up. 

The VA at Bay Pines paid more than $62,000 in 2013 for the device.

“It’s very important,” explained Lt. Thomas Horton of the Bay Pines Police Department.

Most of the time, the training simulator sits in boxes in a closet.

Why? When the VA renovated the police station, the room set aside for the simulator was built too small. So it really doesn’t have a place for it.

“I’m appalled by it,” said retired VA Police Lt. Rob O’Neill.

Lt. O’Neill says he argued against buying the shooting simulator. Why? The Miami VA offered its simulator.

“I think that money could’ve gone to veterans programs, medical equipment,” explained Lt. O’Neill.

Last month, the Bay Pines Police Department found a conference room and used the simulator. Prior to that, it sat in the closet for at least 12 months, where it is sitting now.

If you have something that you think should be investigated call or Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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