From Immersion to Presence
What is it like using a use of force training simulator? The call comes through your radio, “Armed robbery in progress at the corner market.” At once you feel a rush knowing the seriousness of what you are responding to. Upon arrival, the backdrop of your locale surrounds you, immersing you in a familiar environment. In the background, the sound of multiple sirens gets louder and louder as backup is screaming towards your location. Over the radio, dispatch relays that they are on the phone with a customer inside the store who says the gunman is still inside. You begin to feel the tension in this high-risk situation that has the potential to go very bad, very quickly.
As you set up a perimeter, the suspect emerges as you draw down on him with your weapon, one that has the same familiarity of your own duty weapon. When he sees you, he fires a shot in your direction. The sound of the gunshot reverberates around you. You begin to experience an adrenaline dump under immense pressure. You return fire as he darts back inside. This has now become a hostage situation.
As things deteriorate, you are startled by the distinctive sound of shattering glass as the suspect breaks out a window and begins barking orders to back off. Suddenly and unexpectedly, someone runs out of the front door and you must make a split-second use of force determination if it is an unarmed civilian or the suspect fleeing the store. After making a near instantaneous assessment, you hold your fire when you don’t see a gun. You then realize that the suspect is still inside when he continues to appear in the window every few moments while screaming demands.
Your senses are in a state of heightened awareness as you have felt the percussion of occasional gunfire echoing around you, the vibration of a police chopper overhead, and the anxiety of knowing that you could ultimately experience the very real pain of an electric jolt simulating being shot.
During this law enforcement training situation you understand the reality of your use of force actions and how it determines if people live or die. You are keenly aware that you must slow the situation by using law enforcement de-escalation skills to bring emotions down until a negotiator arrives, or it’s resolved without injury or loss of life to innocent civilians.
How this incident plays out depends on your abilities and the actions you take, while the trainer ultimately directs the scenario accordingly. Once the simulation training scenario is complete and you take a step back, you realize that you were immersed in a tense use of force training scenario in a virtual reality simulator. The feelings, sounds, pressures, and even the anxiety were real.
Immersion Use of Force Training
This judgmental use of force scenario represents true, full-immersion, virtual law enforcement simulation training. Immersion into a training simulators virtual reality is the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. Not only will what you see and hear appear real, you will also feel as though you are physically present. Everywhere you look you are met with the engrossing sights and sounds of a completely virtual world.
Immersion use of force training for law enforcement focuses on features that influence or invoke a sense of realism. At the low end, features are used to construct a representation of the environment. Higher levels of use of force simulator immersion have the potential to enhance learners’ feelings of presence, or the perception of actually being in a particular environment.
Law Enforcement Simulation-Based Training
It is important for law enforcement and military personnel to train with as much realism as possible to better prepare for active threat situations that they will inevitably encounter. Real-world in field performance is often directly correlated to the realism of use of force training. In short, the more realistic and intense the training exercise, the more skills that can be transferable to a real-world situation.
It is critically important to make law enforcement simulated training as realistic as possible. This higher standard for law enforcement simulation training in engagement skills and judgmental use of force simulation training leads to improved real-world skills for the trainees.
Simulation-based training can engage the officer in the simulation training they need to respond, think through, and successfully end a critical incident.
Simulator Training Content and Special Effects
One of the most important aspects of any law enforcement and military use of force training system is the quality of the content. The degree to which the virtual or artistic environment faithfully reproduces reality determines the degree of suspension of disbelief. The greater the suspension of disbelief, the greater the degree of presence achieved. This is achieved through law enforcement and military training quality content and special effects.
Intense, realistic simulator scenarios, which are displayed using a combination of excellent visual and audio equipment, provide the most realistic simulation scenario-based training content for both law enforcement and military.
To enhance the richness of a truly immersive virtual reality simulator training experience, accurate environmental sounds and spatial characteristics are a must. Additional features, such as still images/graphics, 300° HD video, surround-sound, and special effects can be added to the information stream. It should also include the ability to adjust atmospheric conditions, and integration of other tools such as flashlights, Axon® TASER®, lethal, and less lethal use of force training scenarios.
Interactivity Simulator and Collaboration Training
Interaction is the technology’s ability to change the scene from the point of view of the participants and the ability to alter their physical position and to manipulate objects. Interactivity is itself an important design consideration. It captures an important structural element of training – the level at which the training is offered.
In addition, interactivity is critical for ensuring the simulator training realism of team or collaborative performance. The technology must offer a level of information richness capable of supporting the high degree of interactivity inherent in collaborative learning and performance environments.
A key component of the VirTra mission is to make firearms training simulators as realistic as possible. VirTra invests in simulator technology and actors to recreate the real-world in simulation training exercises. This investment provides realistic 3D audio and special effects, realistic recoil training firearms, electronic impulse return fire device capabilities.
From marksmanship to the most challenging judgmental use-of-force decision simulation, the VirTra 300 LE is an essential tool for law enforcement training programs. Judgmental use-of-force training mode supplies a library of realistic scenario training taken from after action reports in a highly challenging 300-degree training platform. The optional stage and audio system provides over 2,000 watts of audio, and transducers mean simulated sounds feel real and adrenal is felt during training.
Contact VirTra today to arrange a demo on how our immersive simulator technology can help train your officers in a realistic virtual environment.