Virtual-reality training for law enforcement headed to Tucson

Virtual-reality training for law enforcement headed to Tucson

TEMPE, AZ (Tucson News Now) - VirTra, a Tempe based company, is bringing an immersive and realistic type of training to law enforcement agencies in Arizona.

VirTra announced their $2.1 million contract with the Department of Public Safety in December 2016. Seven simulators will be set up at training academies across the state, including one at the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center (SALETC ) in Tucson.

"It's about getting better training in the field of what we call judgmental force and decision making training," said Scott Dilullo, federal law enforcement business development manager with VirTra.

Dilullo, a former police officer, said this simulation allows law enforcement to be able to put themselves in the most realistic situations possible to prepare them for what they may encounter in real life.

"Repetition, experience makes a more confident and a more well trained officer," Dilullo said. "We have to be better at dealing with and reacting and deescalating and understanding everything. All of the dynamics that go into an encounter or contact with an individual."

This 360 simulation uses realistic video, real weapons and an electric impulse return fire system to simulate stress to give law enforcement the most realistic training possible.

Capt. Eric Kazmierczak with the Tucson Police Department is the training division commander for SALETC.

He said this simulator provides a more realistic type of training compared to the single-screen simulators they currently use.

Kazmierczak said the single-screen simulators will eventually be phased out and this new system will be added to their training.

"This fits in our current training curriculum. And it's going to provide us the opportunity for us to do things over and over again," Kazmierczak said.

He added this simulator provides a certain type of training that their current one doesn't. It allows officers to practice their communication and deescalation skills.

"We're really finding now that tactical skills are applied because in some cases because some officers don't have those communication skills that they need or aren't polished enough on communication skills to prevent those tactical skills from having to come into play," Kazmierczak said.

Arizona is the first state in the country to offer this type of training to law enforcement statewide.

"The state of Arizona understood and we have minimum state training standards and it's ok. But we need to start upping our standards. We need to train above minimum state standards to better prepare our officers," Dilullo said.

Law enforcement around the state will be able to start using this as a part of training in the next couple of months.

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