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ACPD is the first in Virginia to use new virtual reality training tool

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Albemarle County, Virginia (WVIR) – The Albemarle County Police Department says it is the first in Virginia to use virtual reality to help train its officers.

The Apex Virtual Reality suite allows them to practice scenarios they might discover in the field.

So far, officers can practice aiming on a virtual firing range, exploring dark alleys with a flashlight, and playing de-escalation scenarios.

In these de-escalation scenarios, one officer controls the suspect, while two others execute the scenario.

“We can go through as many times as we want, and we can move it to a different location. We can train the officers for five minutes or 30 minutes like us,” said Lieutenant Tripp Martin. . We are able to provide feedback to officers on how they responded.”

The goal is to make officers better at running in all kinds of situations they might encounter on the field, while in a safe and versatile environment.

“It is possible that we with the department have put about 25 to 30 officers through the simulator at this point,” Lieutenant Martin said.

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The ACPD says learning to shoot and when to shoot is only part of it.

“If it is a mental health victim who is going through something, then we can, depending on how you do it, change the situation according to those actions, the dispatcher or the officer is able to control that. We can do a variety of different scenarios and no You always end up with a gun.”

The department says the $70,000 virtual reality kit will pay for it.

“Now that we have it, our updates and subscriptions are free, so we can use them and train whenever we want. We don’t have to pay for off-site training,” said Lieutenant Martin.

So far, the firearms team has only trained with the real-life Apex group, but the department says it plans to run all of its teams through the training process.

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