We have all taken part in scenario training. No matter how hard we try to get into the scenario, it never fully immerses us. We are training and dealing with friends, coworkers, and actors. We know it is training, but we give it our best. We are still getting value from the exercise, but what could make the experience more immersive? What could get us involved more and feel like it is “real”?
Virtual reality may be the answer for future law enforcement scenario training. The benefits are apparent for those of us who have experienced virtual reality. However, most of us have never donned a headset and seen it ourselves. VR is a fully-immersive visual environment that puts you directly in the simulation.
You are not looking at a screen. You are wherever the program has you in the virtual world. Instead of being in a classroom, you are standing in the middle of the street conducting a known risk traffic stop. Your physical body may be standing in the gym, but your brain thinks you are hunting an armed and dangerous felon in an apartment complex.
According to Chris Brown, a Human Factors Psychologist, “It makes your brain believe that you’re there by stimulating your visual senses.” For example, you know you are in a headset and the gym. Your brain, however, reacts as though what you are seeing in the virtual world is happening.
Within a few moments, with the headset on, officers become acclimated. They become fully immersed in the environment. The heart rate increases when the tempo increases and the scenario goes south. The brain at the moment considers this to be real, so officers react as if it was happening. This eliminates a lot of the problems with using role players and props. Being in a living, breathing, and seemingly natural environment makes the training come to life.
You can complete dozens of scenarios in a relatively short amount of time. Go from active shooters to traffic stops. You can deal with mental health issues, visit the shooting range, or respond to a domestic violence call. Since the training is as dynamic as the real world, the scenarios can range from best case to absolute nightmare, allowing officers and trainers to conduct everyday calls for service with compliant subjects and then shift to life-threatening scenarios. As a result, they are making it a more realistic experience.
Virtual reality might be the future of police training. However, there is still a lot of work needed to be accomplished so that it’s more accessible to agencies with tighter training budgets. The technology is there. It just needs to grow and mature more into the mainstream. I, for one, have experienced some Virtual Reality training, and it’s hard to go back to anything else.
A few companies out there have made virtual reality training for law enforcement a reality. Look them up, consider the options and maybe present them to your agency. Then, request a demo and see for yourself. We live in the future. Embrace it!
V-Armed V-ARMED creates custom 3D VR simulations for large-scale training. With multiplayer scenarios to enhance mission readiness and situational awareness for law enforcement..
Apex Officer Apex Officer provides police officers and law enforcement agencies with turnkey virtual reality force options training simulators and VR technology training solutions.
Wrap Reality A fully-immersive simulator unites the best of modern enterprise tech with law enforcement content to create a virtual training solution for a better future of policing.