‘Angel of Tahoe’ donation will help Douglas Sheriff’s Office buy driving simulator

STATELINE, Nev. — The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office may soon acquire a driving simulator through a donation from the “Angel of Tahoe” Lisa Maloff.

During Thursday’s county commissioner meeting, the board may authorize the sheriff’s office to accept a cash donation of $50,000 from Maloff that will be used to purchase a driving simulator.

“This is something we’ve been looking into for a long time,” said Cpt. Ron Michitarian. “We are very fortunate in Douglas County that we have people who like to donate to the sheriff’s office and Mrs. Maloff is one of those people.”

The cost of the simulator will run about $125,000 and the sheriff’s office has gathered the funds together from previous Maloff donations.

Michitarian said deputies get training in the academy where they learn how to drive aggressively, use their brakes, multitask and not roll vehicles and added that a typical agency will provide training once or twice per year which is an expensive process.

The sheriff’s office in the past would host training for deputies at the Minden-Tahoe Airport but because it’s hard on the asphalt, they are no longer able to train there. They’ve also held training at Western Nevada College and in Reno.

Michitarian said they’d like to have their own driving course, but the cost for that would be in the millions.

“The next best thing is the simulator,” Michitarian said. “Kids have been using driving simulators in arcades for years and we’ve learned we can use that. It’s for everyday driving and we change the scenarios depending on what we want to train on. It’s something we can put in a room and run all our people through. What we find is that if we don’t train, accidents go up.”

Driving simulators offer various advantages compared to real vehicles, including the ability to change conditions and outcomes, shorter training times, it’s safer and more cost effective.

Michitarian said the initial investment is expensive but after purchasing the simulator the only cost is to maintain it.

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