How to Use VR in Police Officer Training?

Virtual Reality, VR, Immersive Technology & Simulated Environment

How to Use VR in Police Officer Training?

NVPD VR Training

Remember during our childhood time in the 90s where we love to pretend being a cool police by playing the arcade game called “Virtua Cop“. Some part of the game really mimic the actual scenario such as the need to differentiate between the bad guy and the hostage. You must be very careful not to accidentally shoot the hostage or the good guy. In a way, this looks a bit like a training too. Especially, for those inspired to be cop…

Virtua Cop Game
“Please don’t shoot me” from Virtua Cop Game

Nowadays, technology and platform such as virtual reality can be a very powerful tool in the real training related with death and life situation. This is more critical in the jobs that deal with this kind of scenarios in the daily basis. The nearest example might be our police officers or police department. Below are some examples of the uses of VR in police officer training to boost their competency thus reducing their risk when dealing with real situation…

NYPD Using VR in Training

NYPD is using virtual reality for their police officer training. The training is for scenarios such as hostage situation or counter-terrorist. The training provider are Louisiana State University (LSU) and V-Armed. V-Armed is specialized in creating a large-scale 3D VR training for professionals like engineers, law enforcement etc.

V-Armed

What’s Good About VR Police Officer Training?

One good thing is that, they can train in the scenarios that they can customize and it is easily configurable. They can also create various avatars to support the scenarios. Example is to simulate the scenario of shooter at World Trade Center Memorial. Or maybe the hostage situation at school or shopping mall.

The interesting feature that we see inside the VR police officer training is they capture the field of view or the line of sight of the participants. Hence they can further analyze their action after that and then improvise it. They can know which area is the blind spot and how to tackle that situation. Meaning a better post-mortem session with more data.

NYPD VR Police Officer Training

Furthermore, everything they are doing inside the virtual world is recorded. Hence, they can gather the statistics from there. From the VR solution, they can track the performance of the officers. Example is like the accuracy and bullet trajectory from their guns. Interestingly, it also can evaluate the quality of the police officers’ negotiation skills and quality.

This will definitely give benefit to the supervisors to evaluate their officers skill and capability before deciding to send them to the field or not. You can watch the video here:

Isn’t it cool for the cops? Hope it is a good return on the investment since it is funded by Department of Homeland Security.

UK Gwent Using Cave VR Approach

Gwent Police using Cave VR
Gwent Police using Cave VR (Credit: BBC)

In January 2018, Gwent Police, one of the police unit in UK, is embarking on the use of VR in their routine training. According to them, they are the first police unit in UK (United Kingdom) to use virtual reality approach for their officer training. That’s really cool…

Surprisingly, instead of using the popular HMD (Head Mounted Display) or VR headset, the Wales police unit decided to use the cave method for the virtual reality training. The cave VR provides a 280-degrees virtual environment for them.

Since the VR community using the headset is not mature yet, this kind of setup can make the communication between the user and the audience watching them from outside of the cave run smoothly. Inside the cave, the officer can move around and interact with the virtual characters.



During the simulation of the incidents, the officers can test their decision making skills, safeguarding skills and spot controlling behaviour skills. According to them, this training simulation can replace eight hours of conventional lectures and presentations.

As a start, their focus is more on the domestic violence or abuse case. Hence, the participants come from the Domestice Abuse Coordination Team. At this moment, they have two animated scenarios on this. But they plan to extend it to other crime scenarios as well in the future. The most important thing is that it is done in a safe and controlled environment which can be re-simulate again and again until it reach perfection. That’s a very cool initiative from a respected uniformed unit in Wales.

NCCDP Using VR Headsets in Training

In 2021, the New Castle County Division of Police (NCCDP) acquired 23 Axon VR headsets. These headsets is to be used during the training simulation. There are six training modules where the police officers need to learn how to safely interact and empathize with citizens under various conditions such as suicidal or Post Traumatic Stress.

The good things about VR is that the officer experiences the world through their own eyes. From the training simulation, the officer is able to make decisions within the simulation. The decision made will lead to certain different outcomes.

It seems that NCCDP is very positive on the VR initiative that they plan to implement it immediately in the academy program. Furthermore, it will be also be available for the existing officers to use as well.

De-escalation VR Training by Schenectady Police

In February 2021, Schenectady Police announced that they are using virtual reality for the de-escalation training. De-escalation is the way to minimize the use of force during the incident by avoiding physical confrontation. To deliver this kind of training, the Schenectady Police Department and the Center for Community Justice worked together with Catapult Games to develop it.

They will be using the real-life scenarios from across the country to create the simulation. One of the famous example is the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. During the training simulation, users will view the scenario via VR headset and then makes their choice on how they will de-escalate the situation with a game controller.

Schenectady Police using VR
Schenectady Police using VR (Images by WWLP)

We think this is the best time to apply VR in the police training. Furthermore, it can be a cost saving initiative too. As simple as the number of bullets use during training until they are fully ready to use the real bullet. For more info, you can read it at:

  1. NYPD is testing virtual reality training drills for real-life scenarios like active shooters” from ABC 7’s Eyewitness News.
  2. The Official Website of V-Armed.
  3. Gwent Police – First police force to use virtual reality in police officer training” from Gwent Police.
  4. Police use virtual reality to help tackle domestic abuse” from BBC.
  5. NCCo police are using virtual reality headsets for training” from Delaware Public Media.
  6. Schenectady Police using virtual reality for de-escalation training” from WWLP-22News.

 

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