Posted on Jun. 6, 2024 by Christopher Dorch

Reaction Times Can Be an Essential Tool in Use of Force Incidents

When a routine encounter turns into a crisis, reaction time can be the only factor protecting an officer’s life. Law enforcement members must be able to think, react, and perform a response before a situation escalates. For this reason, agencies must be discerning when choosing from one of the emerging virtual decision-making simulators.

VirTra Use of Force Simulator Put to the Test

Researchers from the College of Saint Mary and Cal State Fullerton tested VirTra’s simulator tech to determine whether the scenarios improved the responding officers’ response times. Each officer would perform the exercise two times per week over four weeks.

The study consisted of a VirTra V-300 simulator, 15 healthy police officers, and a Bassin anticipation timer about two feet in front of participants. The officers observed a moving light projected on the simulator screens, which they would have to anticipate and fire at a target. The team would then record the response times for changes over the course of the experiment.

The study showed moderate improvement in all participants, with an average reduction in response time of .056 seconds, with a notable improvement between each practice session. And while these times may seem insignificant, the fractions of seconds between stimulus and decision-making could mean life or death for officers on duty.  In fact, most incidents require less than 1.5 seconds.

The effectiveness of video training has been researched for decades; however, this study adds to the exciting body of research.

Recently Published