Scottsdale-based Axon Enterprise Inc. public safety technologies company has launched its first wireless virtual reality simulator training providing content to help officers develop critical thinking, de-escalation and tactical skills.
Axon’s VR Simulator provides officers with more training on how to best interact with the community, de-escalate effectively and support individuals in crisis, according to a press release, noting how police training methods can be time-consuming, unrealistic and expensive.
The majority of trainings are focused on “hands-on” use of force, which is necessary, the release said but accounts for less than one percent of police and citizen interactions nationwide.
“With a mission of protecting life, our technologies give customers the confidence, focus and time they need to keep their communities safe. Our products impact every aspect of a public safety officer’s day-to-day experience with the goal of helping everyone get home safe,” the release stated.
To date, more than 245,000 lives and countless dollars are said to have been saved with the Axon network of devices, apps and people.
“Officers on patrol frequently encounter individuals in crisis. Through the use of this breakthrough simulator, we are able to fully immerse officers into common situations, helping prepare them for a number of different variables with an emphasis on de-escalation,” said Rick Smith, Axon CEO and founder, in a prepared statement.
“Our mission has always been to protect life, and by giving law enforcement the ability to work through the situations they see in the field daily, we can help create outcomes that are better for everyone.”
The VR Simulator provides “industry-leading content and allows trainees to work through complex scenarios” refined and validated by a diverse network of first responders and subject matter experts, detailed the release.
Among the first training modules included at launch will cover domestic violence allowing officers to actually talk and walk through the scenario as they would in the field, with feedback from trainers and supervisors, offering more practice and enhancing their skills, to better prepare officers for the daily situations encountered.
The wireless VR headsets, provided by HTC VIVE and its latest HTC VIVE Focus 3, delivers an all-in-one unit described as simple to deploy and use, without extraneous hardware, time or space constraints. The VR training provides connectivity for in-person and remote experiences, creating an on-demand platform that can be accessed anytime instead of at a designated training facility.
Axon’s VR Simulator training will also integrate the TASER 7 device and training handguns, so officers can use real hardware in the virtual world, creating muscle memory and familiar responses in the most critical high-risk situations while leveraging a fully-immersive environment.
The Phoenix Police Department will be the first agency to adopt Axon’s new VR Simulator into its training curriculum.
“We are always looking for opportunities to innovate and improve our officers’ abilities to handle various calls for service,” says Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams in a prepared statement.
“Axon’s new training platform allows our officers to run through scenarios in the safety of a controlled learning environment. This technology lets us train more efficiently, benefiting the responding officer and our community.”
The VR Training seamlessly integrates into an agency’s current training program with connection to the Axon Academy learning management system. The learning objectives and content of Axon Academy and Axon’s Community Engagement VR Training feed into the scenarios of the VR Simulator.
The Community Engagement VR Training launched in 2018 and is used by more than 1000 police agencies in the U.S. and Canada. New content is released each month.
Learn more at axon.com.