The Brentwood Police Department will move into a newly constructed police facility in the Spring of 2021 and an entire room on the first floor will house a state-of-the-art firearm training simulator system. The technology will allow officers to train in a virtual climate on decision-making scenarios pertaining to use of force including de-escalation tactics.
Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes says this technology is essential. “Despite our continued training on proficiency, police find they are more likely to be criticized for their decision making when it comes to shoot/don’t shoot,” Chief Hughes said. “In those few seconds an officer decides to shoot or not, there are a lot of factors running through one’s mind,” added Chief Hughes. “One of the major benefits of using the professionally produced scenarios on the VirTra Simulator is the cultivation of effective verbal communication (de-escalation skills) with subjects during tense situations,” said Chief Hughes.
VirTra, Inc. is a global provider of training simulators for the law enforcement, military, educational and commercial markets. The simulator will include two AR-15 drop-in kits with four magazines, two Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm weapons with six magazines, two X2 Taser weapons, two OC Canisters and access to an entire library of training scenarios. An annual subscription payment of $47,718 will include all warranty and maintenance for up to five years. Earlier this year, VirTra, Inc. released a new training curriculum designed to help law enforcement professionals bridge the communication gap and interact more effectively, and positively, with individuals with autism. Other scenarios in their system include active shooters in schools and other public places.
Chief Hughes added, “the controller can control what happens in the scenario based on the officer’s actions, so that will give them the opportunity to practice de-escalation skills. Just like with the Citizens Police Academy, we allow citizens and the public to experience this because you get a real feeling for what it’s like to be in a situation and know what’s going through an officer’s mind and what it feels like to have to shoot or not shoot.”
The new technology will replace the department’s current firearm simulator and will be submitted for surplus once the new system is operational.