In 2016 alone, there were 708 police-related fatalities across the country. Though use of force is sometimes required to help save the lives of officers and civilians, there are many cases in which further training and better tactical skills may have prevented those deaths. Here are some of the ways in which VirTra use of force simulators could have reduced the number of lives lost.
Better Communication Skills
One of the biggest things any officer can do to deescalate a situation that could lead to the use of deadly force is to effectively communicate with the subject. Of course, simply talking to someone and telling him to “drop the weapon” is not always effective, so there must be a better way. VirTra use of force simulators are designed in such a way that officers learn how to communicate with and de-escalate subjects in a variety of ways. This way, officers have a better chance of de-escalating the situation through effective communication skills.
More Officer Awareness
Officers may use force when they are startled or when a situation seems to be beyond their control. Though many of these shootings are perfectly justified, there is some evidence to suggest that improved officer awareness could reduce the number of police-related fatalities. For example, if an officer is aware of his or her surroundings through appropriate focus of attention, it is far less likely that he or she will be startled enough to draw and fire a weapon. Simply staying aware of the situation can go a long way toward saving lives. VirTra’s numerous virtual police training scenarios are designed to help improve officers’ ability to assess and remain aware of any situation at any given time.
In order to keep a situation under control, officers must be able to maintain the tactical advantage. In other words, police officers need to be one step ahead of suspects during altercations of any kind. For many officers, only experience can give them the ability to maintain the tactical advantage, and that is exactly what VirTra aims to provide. Through various customizable law enforcement scenarios, officers can learn (in a safe setting) how to best maintain control over the situation as a whole.
Finally, perhaps the best way to prevent questionable police-related fatalities is to better train officers in the first place. This training should provide plenty of experience and help officers better understand how they need to react in certain situations. Of course, officers cannot simply create a bank robbery or active shooter event just for the purpose of training, and simply reading about it or role-playing with fellow officers is not enough for them to truly grasp the gravity of the situation as it would unfold in the real world. VirTra provides this virtual experience that no amount of time in a classroom or at a firing range can offer.
As more and more police and law enforcement departments around the country begin to invest in VirTra’s use of force simulators, firearms and de-escalation training, it is expected that the number of unjustified police-related fatalities could decline. Experience is the key to keeping control over a situation, and that is precisely why VirTra was developed.