Washington – A combat man approaches and quickly moves toward a policeman who pulls an electric taser. The guy is wearing a heavy jacket, which may mean that the forks that generate an electronic current and send it to the ground may not work.
It’s a scenario that is shown time and time again to police officers across the United States, sometimes with disastrous consequences. The script was recently highlighted with a file Police shoot Patrick Liuya, who was shot in the back of the head by an officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during a struggle after the officer attempted to fire a Taser twice at Liuya. Both times it was inactive.
Axon, best known for developing the Taser, is expanding a virtual reality and immersive training program that aims to further train officers by using Tasers in life-like scenarios and making them comfortable making split-second decisions, including where to fire weapon prongs to disable a suspect without having to. to resort to lethal force.
Axon has grown into one of the largest technology companies for police agencies in the United States and supplies departments large and small – including the majority of the nation’s largest forces – with taser weapons and body cameras. The new training, which is officially rolling out on Tuesday, is the latest in and paired with the company’s virtual reality software Another simulation of realistic training, Including answering calls with people with autism and domestic violence calls.
VR training, which uses headphones, wrist controllers, and an actual officer’s Taser with a special VR cartridge, is packaged in a small duffel bag, giving police departments the ability to carry out training during phone calls or for officers in police between calls. . It also means that officers can undergo training all the time, rather than being called to a training center or police academy.
“The level of repetition and the type of training really for the more realistic things, which they don’t necessarily have the time or resources for, it just enables them to do it in a much better way, in a more holistic way,” said Chris Chen, Vice President of Immersive Technologies at Axon.
The mobile setup and continuous access were praised by the departments that were piloting the software. For many police departments, training simulators have proven costly and require 2D displays to be built in the police academy or other building. With the new Axon gear, the officer only needs a few feet around and the program can be performed remotely, with an instructor elsewhere or working from home.
The training also provides officers with the ability to train in a virtual firing range, as well as a three-dimensional room where multiple suspects approach. The training aims to get officers to quickly determine when and how to fire their weapon—including whether to use a closer or wider spread of prongs and wires carrying electrical current to bypass and temporarily disable a person’s central nervous system.
The training program will be expanded, and Axon has already begun creating another scenario that includes training the Taser in a domestic violence call scenario.
“We actually want to have something that’s smoothly deployable, mobile, that can be tossed in the back of the car, and can be done before a roll call or after a roll call,” Chen said. “It could be done in a way that you can actually get trainers and trainees in different locations.”
In New Castle, Delaware, nearly every police officer has undergone Axon’s community training programs and the department is expanding on the new Taser training program.
The virtual reality simulation now means officers in the roughly 350-strong force can train during every shift, including overnight, Corporal Michael Eckerd said.
“We are always doing new and innovative things,” Eckerd said. “The important thing about this is convenience and portability.”
Axon already offers virtual reality community engagement training for police departments, which was developed with the help of mental health experts, community advocates and other experts, and is designed to put officers in real-life scenarios to de-escalate the situation and deal with victims or suspects during the call. The company has partnered with Phoenix Police to place officers in nine training modules. A report by the National Association of Cities found that more than 80% of officers who went through training said they had prepared them to adapt their approach to a relevant call, and nearly 60% said the training encouraged them to see the situation from another perspective.
“Virtual reality training gives the officer an opportunity to experience an incident from multiple perspectives,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in an interview. “So the officer can go into a domestic violence call from an officer’s point of view and then have the opportunity to go into the same incident from the victim’s perspective.”
Gallego also highlighted portability as a major advantage in a city like Phoenix, where going to the police academy could mean an hour-long journey for an officer. With virtual reality headsets, officers can only train in their areas and won’t need to be taken off the patrol for an entire day.
“The more tools we have that are smart and allow flexible training, the less time we take officers off the streets and the more real results we get,” she said.
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