Company Name: VirTra
Headquarters: Tempe, Ariz.
Signature Product: The V-300 LE
1. Where did your company name originate from?
The name originated from our focus on creating the most effective virtual, judgmental use of force training products for police and military. Our company name is a portmanteau derived from the first three letters of “virtual” and the first three letters of “training.”
2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
The inspiration behind starting the company was the desire to make highly effective simulation products – every minute in a VirTra simulator greatly sharpens real-world skills so officers are ready for the unexpected.
3. What is your signature product and how does it work?
When we invented the 300-degree wrap-around screens simulator, it quickly became the world’s most realistic, immersive simulators. Our product line also includes the most realistic heavily branching scenarios, training weapons (including less lethal options such as TASER and OC spray) and a patented electronic stress inoculation accessory called the Threat-Fire. This simulation package is effective because it closely replicates real-world situations so officers can learn and grow their skills inside the simulator, then transfer those skills to the field.
4. Why do you believe your products are essential to the police community?
Our products are essential because they help those entrusted with the use of force and public safety to refine their decision-making skills and practice various situations before encountering them in the real world. We provide an environment where psycho-motor skills can be used in real-world contextual environments. This is essential to great performance in high-stress, yet controlled environments.
5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?
The largest challenge we faced was paying off the debt incurred by the millions we invested in creating the world’s most effective simulation products. It took several years, but we paid it off and are now investing our money in the next innovations. We continue to lead the industry with ongoing investments in creating new and improved simulation training products that help solve current and future customer problems.
6. What makes your company unique?
Our staff of dedicated and talented professionals are the top 5% in their fields. Each person is passionately devoted to ensuring our customers receive the most effective simulation training products possible to help improve and save both officer and civilian lives. In fact, 1 out of every 3 staff members are veterans or retired law enforcement who best understand the field and necessary training materials.
7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?
Customers love how our staff genuinely cares and understand first-hand about their needs. We go the extra mile to provide quality simulators and scenarios that feature remarkable realism and exceptional educational and training value. Our patented technology makes a significant difference, allowing officers to use duty weapons in the simulation environment.
8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?
One of the most rewarding moments is when an officer informs us that our training simulator, scenarios and nationally-certified curriculum helped prepare them to make the right choice in a real-world stressful situation!
9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety? Tell us more.
VirTra is excited to have been chosen as the first for-profit company allowed to sponsor the Force Science Institute classes. Force Science respects our meticulous attention to detail and training materials based on their research and understands our mission to have every officer better trained.
VirTra paid for half of the tuition to make the courses more affordable for officers and has given out 25+ free scholarships to line-level officers to attend the courses. Helping every officer to understand their own human performance limits means they can train more effectively and adjust their tactics to what is physically possible under dynamic and unpredictable settings. We believe that Force Science and VirTra have parallel missions and they are just one of our great partners
10. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share about you or your company?
When we released our first high-quality simulator product in 2004, we were told by some that our simulator was “too good.” The then-current belief was that “these things only have to be good enough, they don’t have to be that real.” However, a clinical study completed in 2018 showed that our attention to detail induces belief and the right amount of stress in officers that’s needed to prepare them for real-world situations.
We were also told that police departments would never spend the money on our system, even if it meant potentially saving lives. We are pleased to report that hundreds of agencies worldwide use our simulators today to provide their officers with the proper training, with many other agencies adding top-of-the-line use-of-force training simulators in the near future.
11. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?
We’re enhancing and adding to our interactive coursework and curriculum, a program called V-VICTA. Departments can quickly, easily and at no additional cost incorporate V-VICTA — virtual interactive coursework training academy — into their training programs. These courses have been certified by IADLEST to allow officers to train on the topics that matter most while receiving credit for the time spent learning in the classroom and simulator.