Phoenix PD using virtual reality training to learn de-escalation strategies from new perspectives

Phoenix Police officers are stepping into the world of virtual reality.

The department announced its new training with simulators that help them respond to everyday situations, and it's one of the first departments to use this technology.

The virtual simulator pods have already been implemented for training with the goal of increasing de-escalation and building community trust.

Pods, headsets and wristbands are what Phoenix Police officers are using now to step into the world of virtual reality to train for every day, real-life situations.

This is possible through a partnership with the department and Axon, a company that develops technology for military and law enforcement.

The officers can train in a community engagement mode where they encounter domestic violence situations, people who may be hard of hearing, have autism or other scenarios.

"Our officers can complete a call from the perspective of someone who has called police into their home or because someone else has called, and I think that is very powerful," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Axon says studies have shown this kind of training is going a long way.

"They have found that they would actually address a situation much differently now than they would before the training," said Chris Chin with Axon. 

The mayor agrees.

"If they have powerful training, it makes them feel a call is not the first time having this experience. We think it will be better equipped for successful outcomes for our community."

A big plus with this training helps save time and resources, so officers do not have to travel far to get the same results.

So far, the department has 100 pods. They will have 195 by the end of the rollout.