Virtual reality training hoping to help police departments

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake Police Department is getting a new piece of technology to help train officers for different scenarios.

It took InVeris Training Solutions two years to create VR-DT (Virtual Reality-Decisions and Tactics) or “Verdict” to provide a way for law enforcement agencies to learn how to work through tense situations.

CEO Al Weggeman says they’ve had a lot of success with the technology in California, with 70 installations and they’ve seen an increase in agencies looking to use it.

The Chesapeake Police Department says they will get their system by the end of the year.

“When we support law enforcement and first responders, we’re supporting the community. This product has a lot of benefit and impact and can ultimately save lives,” Weggeman said.

The CEO says the product came about to due to the current challenges and issues of law enforcement.

InVeris says Verdict is made up of state-of-the-art hardware and allows officers to use a variety of weapons and equipment, like in the field, during the experience.

It comes with a laptop and headset that provides a 360-degree immersive experience to make the situations feel real.

“It’s all about experience. Everybody learns through experience. Officers learn through experience out in the street. They can make mistakes or they can do right. We want to provide that opportunity to be immersive to an environment they work in and allow them to learn and gain those experiences ,good or bad, they will learn and get better,” said Jay Ayala, who works in virtual sales for InVeris. “But we’re providing that virtual experience to go out on the street to perform as we expect them to, learning how to talk to people, de-escalate, and finding a peaceful resolve.”

Ayala says departments can chose from a number of scenarios such as domestic violence to encounters with those who are homeless as well as creating their own situations unique to their regions.

The virtual reality training is something that younger officers have taken to quickly, according to Ayala.

“It’s a whole new technological realm we’re in,” he said. “We’re starting to see the youth in our policing times change so the technology has to change. We’re getting better responses especially from the young guys out on patrol that get into the tech much better. It’s a learning tool. It seems to have better retention than past training methods. The retention rates with that virtual experience is much higher. They like to train more and retention is higher than past tech out there.”

Ayala says Verdict is not scripted and allows the instructor to have control of the communication from those within the system.

The Chesapeake Police Department says it is looking forward to using the training to better serve its citizens.

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