The Town of Palm Beach Police department is taking police training to the next level with a training simulator.
The $300,000 training system arrived after two years of the department looking into it and just in time for public calls for further police training.
The Virtra 300 training system allows trainees walked through 284 real life scenarios in which they experience stressful situations and will attempt to de-escalate them without using force.
“If they can better control that physiological response, they can better control the encounter,” Palm Beach Police training manager Michael Ogrodnick said.
As the trainee is going through the simulator, the instructors closely monitor the officers and then give them tips on how to better respond to stress and the situation.
“Their respirations are going to go up, their breathing is going to go up,” said Ogrodnick, “If the officer does not respond accordingly to the stimuli on the screen, one of the instructors can then change the dynamic, and either bring it up and escalate it a little bit or de-escalate including making the floor vibrate under their feet.”
Ogrodnick says the idea of the program is to teach officers how to respond to resistance situations and not have them end tragically:
“So hopefully we have scenarios that end well and don’t escalate into a use-of-force or response-to-resistance situation,” Ogrodnick said. “Because we do want our officers to respond appropriately to any resistance, if they need to use force. But our goal is to de-escalate.”