Virtual Reality scenarios can be useful in many fields, not only as an entertainment medium, but also as a learning tool.
Police VR Training, seems to be a growing new prospect for Virtual Reality and one that might have a bigger impact than you think.
The CAVE Police VR Training Program
Unlike other training scenarios, the Police VR Training is set up without a VR Headset. What they do is set up a room with huge screens all around the trainee. The trainee is given a replica gun and is presented a scenario.
These scenarios usually revolve around a frenetic situation, that requires split second decisions.
And while you might think that shooting is something they can train in a shooting range and not in a VR Room, the reality is different. The aim of this Police VR Training Program is not to train marksmanship… But rather to address issues regarding racial prejudice and decision making.
Prejudice affect split second decision making more than other factors. The CAVE Police VR Training is an attempt at removing prejudice from the equation.
The Shooter in the Movie Theater
In an interview with the director of a Police VR Training Center Scott Digiralomo, he explains some shocking results. He explains that one of the simulations is a shooter in a crowded movie theater.
At a moment in the scenario, an off-duty police officer rushes through a door with a gun in his hand.
The officer is African American and the simulation can be set up in two different ways.
The off-duty officer can have his badge in his hand, making it easily identifiable… Or it can be on his hip, much harder to identify.
Scott Digiralomo, explains that when the badge is on his hip, the trainees shoot the off-duty officer 80% of the time!
Creating a Library of Experiences
The Ultimate goal of Police VR Training is to take social prejudice out of the equation. The idea is that having experienced these sort of scenarios over and over again, trainees will have experiences to compare and make better decisions. This can be done with new scenarios of even revisiting previous events.
However, there are many who are skeptical about the project. As the funding for the program is still lacking. Police VR Training is only available for a handful of departments use the program at the moment.
And with as much as 18,000 police departments in the country, it’s hard to imagine the funding required and the effort that it would take to create a standard training.
However Police VR Training is an interesting prospect for the future, and hopefully will be implemented in a more widespread way soon.
Our Police Officers would get a chance to make mistakes in scenarios that wont harm anyone.
Image Credit Tomás Del Coro