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Future police officers train for active shootings with video simulator

Students use video simulator

Brooklyn Park, Nov. 2, 2022 – Police, sheriff’s deputies, and public safety officers routinely receive training to improve their response to crisis events, including active shootings and mental health incidents. Recently, Hennepin Technical College (Hennepin Tech) updated its video-based training technology for students pursuing a career in public safety.

The college uses a video simulator, the VirTra-180, which uses realistic videos to depict crisis scenarios. In a large classroom at Hennepin Tech’s public safety training facility, the video simulator now includes three 10-foot-wide screens, so that students get 180 degrees of simulation around them.

A local news outlet, CCX-Media, described the simulator in a recent report. View it here.

Public safety students stand in front of the video screens and respond to what’s happening in the mock scenario that is unfolding in front of them. The ViraTra-180 is used by police departments and training facilities nationwide. It provides the opportunity for students to practice appropriate use of verbal commands, use of force, de-escalation techniques and social interactions during critical events.

In one scenario, a projected image shows two male actors arguing in a dimly-lit parking lot. The actors are portraying a mental health crisis that involves violent, threatening behavior. During training, a public safety student might use verbal commands to direct the men to turn around and show their hands. If one of the actors is armed with a weapon, the public safety student would direct the individual to drop the weapon and may use additional de-escalation techniques, based on what is taking place in the scenario.

“Real-life situations are unpredictable. During the training, an instructor is on a computer and can select from different options to decide what will happen next on the video screen. The instructor can either escalate or de-escalate the situation,” said Tom Draper, professional peace officer education director, Hennepin Tech. “The students are never sure what will happen next and this tests their decision-making skills.”

There are more than 300 crisis scenarios available including active shooter incidents, in-progress crimes, suspicious activity, domestic violence, and mental health crisis incidents.

The emphasis of the training is for students to practice defusing volatile situations in order to restore public safety. The technology also provides training for active shooter incidents and other scenarios when use-of-force is necessary to save lives.

Thanks to a donation from the Hennepin Technical College Foundation, the simulator was recently updated with new scenarios and the additional video screens. Hennepin Tech offers a two year Public Safety and Peace Officer associate degree and a skills certificate.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (Hennepin Tech) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 40 programs. Achieving a high job placement rate, Hennepin Tech prepares students for in-demand and high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-11-08 05:15:22

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