Police departments are using new tech to practice communications, de-escalation

Law enforcement agencies across the country are using a variety of virtual reality and simulation training to better protect and serve


By Police1 Staff

The application possibilities of virtual reality are near endless, making it a popular high-tech tool for training law enforcement officers. From de-escalation to mental crisis calls, here’s a round-up of some of the latest virtual training at police departments around the nation.

Oklahoma police officers using Vive virtual reality to simulate mental health calls

Officers in Moore, Oklahoma, are using Vive headsets and Apex Officer virtual simulator technology to train for limitless scenarios.

“We can simulate conversations or scenarios specifically to an environment or a type of call,“ said Lt. Kyle Hill. The simulator specifically can help with mental health calls, police said.

Sacramento Police Department uses virtual reality for de-escalation training

The Sacramento Police Department is using InVeris Training VR-DT to teach officers how to respond to high-stakes calls. Each scenario is customizable and can change based on how the officer is handling it. A main objective is to help officers safely de-escalate situations, police said.

Indiana police officers take part in virtual de-escalation training

Police in Greenfield, Indiana, are now getting virtual reality training for tense situations from Evolution VR. The new program comes after lawmakers passed a bill that makes de-escalation training mandatory. The program is also more cost-effective and less expensive than analogous field training, police said.

Pennsylvania county police get virtual training to respond to mental crisis calls

Police in New Castle County, Pennsylvania, are using Vive headsets and Axon virtual reality technology to practice de-escalating mental crisis calls, among others. The program includes specific situations, such as dealing with persons with disabilities and even peer interventions. The department says it will soon be running virtual training with multiple officers to develop teamwork skills.

Florida law enforcement academy trains cadets on 320-degree virtual stage

St. Pete College is training the next generation of police officers with VirTra's 320-degree virtual training stage. Cadets can be presented with 250 scenarios, each with varying outcomes depending on how the recruit reacts.

California PD uses InVeris for communications and de-esclation training

Police officers in Del Norte, California are using InVeris virtual training to practice strategic communications and de-escalate volatile situations. The device is designed to be a training tool that centers on decision-making skills, according to police.

Massachusetts PD leases VirTra simulator to make up training lost to COVID

Like most organizations, the Burlington Police Department in Massachusetts has had to adjust during the pandemic. After standard training courses were canceled, the agency decided to lease a VirTra simulator to make up for lost time. Officials say the virtual reality program could add hundreds of extra training hours each year, helping officers learn how to handle anything from a lost dog to a use-of-force situation to a call involving a person with autism.

NEXT: How police training is being reformed

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