Arizona becomes first in U.S. to use virtual reality training for law enforcement

- Officers will now have access to one of the most modern, state of the art training programs in the nation.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety spent more than $2 million on virtual training simulators, designed to immerse officers in real-world scenarios.

DPS spent the funds on seven of these virtual training simulators. The technology not only provides 300-degree views of scenarios, but it's also designed to interact with the officers' use of judgment. The different scenes can play out in thousands of different ways, testing officers' skills and ultimately showing them what to do and not to do in stressful situations.

Officers often have to make split-second decisions that could take or save lives. This 300-degree simulator allows officers to practice making those critical decisions.

Five screens surround trainees in each scenario and depending on their actions, the instructor can deploy different endings, so trainees don't know what to expect, even if they go through the same scenario several times. They even experience a shock if they get shot.

"When I first tried this, I felt that adrenaline level start to get up again like I've never felt before," said Ken Crane, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. "So it makes it a very complex dynamic that we didn't have before."

What makes this training simulator unique is there's more than 140 different types of scenarios and more than 2,000 different options branching out from each scenario.

"It provides the opportunity to escalate or de-escalate," said DPS Col. Frank Milstead. "And really it's more about not escalating force, it's about giving people those extra seconds, those extra minutes that count, so deadly force isn't necessary."

DPS purchased seven of these simulators, which will be used in training academies across Arizona.

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