The Princeton Police Department is adopting a new virtual reality training program

CUT-EDGE TRAINING AT PPD: The Princeton Police Department will use a virtual training platform with realistic simulated scenarios to help perfect de-escalation, conflict resolution, and community policing techniques. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Police Department)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Police Department (PPD) has recently adopted a virtual training platform that will offer the latest simulator training technology to local police officers to take a leadership role in meeting the growing challenges of policing in the 21st century. .

The WRAP Reality program, which the PPD is in the process of implementing, uses training scenarios and innovative technology to completely immerse officers in realistic scenarios with a focus on de-escalation, conflict resolution, reducing the use of strength and principles of community

“We are the first in the state to use this type of training,” said Christopher Morgan, head of the PPD. “Virtual reality allows us to bring the information taught in the classroom to our officers and immerse them in scenarios they can find in real life and assess their skills. In addition, it allows officers to better understand their skills and feel more comfortable in many types of situations. “

He continued: “It is very difficult in police training to move from a classroom environment to a practical application, and WRAP Reality allows us to do this over and over again with all of our officers in a timely manner. We always strive to have the best training for our officers and adding virtual reality is an important step towards this goal.It allows us to immerse our officers in dangerous and critical decision-making situations while monitoring the outcome, and offers us the opportunity to hone the de-escalation skills our agents need to successfully and safely disable a number of critical incidents. ”

WRAP President and CEO Tom Smith described the WRAP Reality program as an innovative step forward in officer training. “We are interested in changing the way the police do business, trying to reduce force and prevent it from being used,” he said. “If we look at law enforcement in general, they are not an obstacle to change. They’re usually not at the forefront of technology. “

Smith noted that typical police training procedures have not changed much in the last 50 years, as students attend a police academy once or twice a year. “We are trying to get them to use WRAP Reality a couple of times a week. It’s much more immersive, much more interactive, and cost-effective. It really impacts. “

He added: “You are looking for a cost-effective approach. Through virtual reality we can do something in about 30 minutes that would take about two hours in the classroom. It will save many working hours, hours of work and provide better training to the police. a couple of times a week instead of a couple of times a year ”.

WRAP and the PPD are excited to collaborate on this initiative as they work to implement the WRAP Reality program at Princeton. In each training session, the participant wears headphones that contain one of the 35 different scenarios developed so far. The instructor, an experienced local police officer, leads the participant through the stage, examining questions such as: Is the officer responding appropriately to the situation? Is the officer too fast to go to his weapon? Does the officer look at the total situation? What other choices could the officer make to use?

“We built the stages like a canvas for the instructors,” Smith said. “They can use our scenarios in various ways and they can record the session and watch it later. We have created the scenarios, but the local instructors use them as a means to train the officers and decide how this training will be integrated by Chief Morgan and the command staff ”.

Morgan highlighted the potential value of the new training program. “The Princeton Police Department is proud to be at the forefront of police progress, and that partnership and training is another example,” he said. “We are committed to providing the best training to our officers and the best possible service to our community, and this is one more step toward achieving those goals.”

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