During and after the pandemic, people became much more aware of how many disease can spread. Mitigating the spread of disease as a first responder goes beyond just COVID-19. Officers are in close contact with many people, and any of them could – knowingly or unknowingly – have an infectious disease.

Understanding the diseases and sicknesses that are at the highest risk for law enforcement officers to obtain is the start. Officers also benefit from understanding how diseases can spread and what the signs and symptoms are.

VirTra’s “Infectious Diseases” course provides 4 hours of material for officers to learn from. There are also 3 associated scenarios to help officers practice interactions.

 

Common Diseases and Infections

Disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Viral infections are a common way for first responders to become sick due to contact with the public. HIV, tuberculosis, COVID-19, hepatitis, and the common cold are some examples of viruses obtained through direct or indirect contact.

To become infected with a virus/bacteria, typically one of the following contacts have occurred:

  • Exposed to the saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected person. This can happen when the person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks loudly in close proximity. Tuberculosis and COVID-19 may spread in this manner.
  • Contact with the blood, urine, or excrement of an infected person. This occurs when a person encounters an unclean environment that contains traces of the listed substances. It can also happen if pricked with a needle used by a person with the disease or if these substances come in contact with an open wound. Hepatitis and HIV may be spread this way.
  • Contact with an animal carrying the virus. A scratch or bite that exposes you to the saliva can transfer a viral infection. Rabies is a virus spread in this manner. Animal excrement may also carry disease.
  • Consuming contaminated food may lead to both viral or bacterial diseases. E. coli and some Hepatitis variants may be obtained through contaminated or expired food.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. Some organisms may even linger on objects that were handled by someone with a virus. This is why it is important to take reasonable precautions if there is a risk of becoming ill.

 

Preventing the Spread of Diseases

While it is not always foolproof, there are several ways to greatly mitigate the spread of disease. Decreasing the risk of infection can be as simple as washing your hands or avoiding touching your nose and mouth.

Washing your hands frequently – not just when you believe you have touched a sick person – is important. If you unconsciously touch your face with unclean hands or eat without washing them, you could pick up an organism. Make sure your hands are either thoroughly washed with soap, or that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Using personal protective equipment (PPE) may be necessary to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne particles. Gloves, face masks, and eye protection are some examples of PPE that can be used on the field if needed. N-95-rated masks may be required for specific organisms to be effective.

It is also recommended that you stay home if you feel ill. You may have a weak immune system and expose yourself to other viruses, plus you may spread a virus to other colleagues. If you are predisposed to infection or have a weakened immune system, taking more precautions helps you better prepare for possible exposure to germs.

 

VirTra’s Infectious Diseases Simulated Scenarios

Our V-VICTA® course, Infectious Diseases, allows not only for classroom learning, but for real world practice. Some scenarios deal with an individual coughing, letting the officer decide how to handle the situation while protecting themselves. Another deals with irate people who do not wish to comply with a business’ PPE rules.

The scenarios help supplement the learning of this important topic. The course comes with an entire manual containing instructor guides, note taking materials, tests, scoring rubrics, and more. Even better? When the course is completed, students receive a certificate of completion and earn NCP credit.

If you are interested in VirTra’s coursework and want to learn how to incorporate it into your agency’s training regime, contact a specialist.

When training your officers, it is a priority to ensure that they receive quality de-escalation training with a curriculum that contains applicable and reliable knowledge. Creating your own curriculum is a process – it takes time, it takes money and both of those are valuable things that you would like to save! On the other hand, when looking at purchasing a curriculum, there is a chance that some courses may have not gone through a certification process that meets State and POST requirements for de-escalation training.

With all these factors to consider, you may be wondering what the right answer is. That is where VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum comes in. Our curriculum mitigates 60+ hours of research, prep and approvals of instructor man hours per one hour of finished curriculum. It also maximizes training session time for optimal learning and retention.

 

Training Certification

On top of those benefits, VirTra puts our V-VICTA courses through a rigorous approval process with IADLEST. IADLEST offers the National Certification Program (NCP) of which sets a high standard in providing quality education for law enforcement nationwide. This means that all of our courses are equipped with extensive training materials for your team to work through.

NCP certified courses are also accepted by all participating POST organizations providing a trustworthy, time and cost-effective way for your officers to earn their de-escalation training certifications.

VirTra is also the only simulator company that provides a certified curriculum for law enforcement, which is free when included with our training simulators.

 

Bring Your Training to Life

In our training simulators, officers can put their de-escalation certifications to practice with intensive training scenarios. Our professionally-produced scenarios include real actors simulating real-world situations. Most of the scenarios contain on average over 85 different branching options based on the officer’s actions. In the scenarios, trainees must use quick decision-making skills to de-escalate the situation to the best of their ability.

The additional scenario training adds immense value to the curriculum by allowing officers to test their classroom knowledge in a stress-inducing environment, preparing them for the real-world.

 

Online Training Courses

If your department does not have the current means for a VirTra simulator but still wants to experience our V-VICTA curriculum, you have another option!

VirTra partnered with other industry-leading partners to develop Certified Training Alliance (CTA). CTA is an online learning platform with certified law enforcement training courses that officers can train through at their own pace, wherever they want! Including certified courses generated from our V-VICTA curricula such as Autism Awareness, Crisis De-escalation, 10 different Mental Illness courses, and more.

You may also find courses from Force Science and Tony Blauer. It’s FREE to sign up and browse the courses online.

Click here to sign up for Certified Training Alliance!

…and if you want to learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA curriculum, contact a VirTra specialist today!

One thing can always be counted on: there is nothing constant but change. One change that has come to many law enforcement agencies is the switch between iron sights and red dot sight (RDS) optics for pistols. There can be a learning curve like there is with acquiring any new skill – but VirTra provides solutions to help overcome the nuances.

If you have a VirTra simulator, you can access the “Red Dot Optics Training and Sustainment” course. This NCP-certified curriculum has 21 accompanying training drills. It was created in conjunction with Victory First® utilizing Aimpoint® red dot optics. The goal is to allow officers to learn skills in the simulator, then practice on the range with minimal transfer time.

One of the ways officers have gotten to practice both in a VirTra simulator and on the range is through the recent Action Target Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC). VirTra’s Subject Matter Expert Mike Clark taught the Red Dot course to several members of law enforcement. Those who completed the course received a certificate as well as new knowledge to bring back to their agencies.

 

The Effects of a Smooth Transition

An agency that is about to switch out their iron sights for RDS is Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Sgt. Micah Evans took Mike Clark’s Red Dot course in preparation for the change. Sgt. Evans and his colleagues currently utilize the simulator at Utah Attorney General’s Office.

“The simulator drills help get the officers dialed into using the optic,” said Sgt. Evans, referring to how training in the simulator helped his performance on the range. “The transition to live fire using the same drills really helped get the officers familiar with the optic.” While no training can imitate real-life ballistics with 100% accuracy, VirTra gets close with accuracy up to 2,500 meters within .02 milliradians.

 

Hands-On vs. Classroom Training

It is common to hear people say they are visual learners. Many say that they learn better by doing rather than listening to a lecture. Practicing the motor skills is far more engaging than reading about it in a textbook or listening to a presentation. It also helps acquire the skills as well as learning the difference between RDS and iron sights.

The Red Dot Optics course at LETC allowed attendees the experience of having an indoor classroom with pre-tests, indoor simulator sessions, then going to the live fire range to apply the knowledge learned.

When asked if the style of training completed in the LETC Red Dot Optics course was something he would continue to practice, Sgt. Evans stated that it is a style he attempts to do with officers whenever they train. “I am a strong believer in situational based training over flat range and class room,” said Sgt. Evans. “Using the combination that this program offers is exactly the type combined training I strive to provide to my officers.”

 

Action Target LETC Red Dot Range Training

 

Certified Coursework

As mentioned above, the course is NCP-certified – but what does that mean for you? VirTra ensures its V-VICTA® courses (such as Red Dot Optics Training and Sustainment) are certified by IADLEST to ensure quality of content. NCP certification is recognized by POST in 36 states, allowing officers who complete the courses to receive continuing education credit.

This type of coursework allows learning to be done beyond just listening to an instructor verbally explain a topic. Students practice and are tested using the VirTra simulator while learning topics based on case law and real after-action reports. Courses being pre-certified saves time for instructors. Normally approvals would be needed, coursework would need reviewing…and it would have to be written! Just one hour of curriculum saves an instructor 65 hours of research, preparation, writing, reviewing, and approving.

Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment is much more than just a lecture or repetitive range drill. It contains 21 drills to test the student on what they have learned – plus accurate debrief sessions that follow. It only takes a second to pull in the target so you can see the point of aim over point of impact and repeat!

 

VirTra highly recommends situational-based training as it prepares trainees and officers for the real world better than any lecture could. If your agency is switching to red dot optics and interested in practicing the skills in a simulator, contact a product specialist.

Imagine yourself in a rapidly evolving situation with an irate subject. You only have a limited time to properly take control of the situation by de-escalating or using the appropriate level of force. One mistake can cost lives – your own and others. Experienced officers have learned to navigate difficult situations under stress, but can always benefit from refresh courses. Trainees and new recruits need hundreds of learning opportunities to develop these crucial skills.

In order to learn and practice the skills needed, law enforcement officers must practice in a similar circumstance. In our case, a realistic, stress-inducing environment. Trainees also benefit from learning in classroom settings in order to learn the foundation and the basics of actions. VirTra combines both the realistic environment with nationally-certified classroom training in a revolutionary program called V-VICTA®—Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy.

The Whole Training Package

V-VICTA is designed to teach, train, test and sustain both trainees and officers in a variety of critical, life-saving skills. Instructors receive an entire training package for each course—slide presentations, lesson plans, tests, corresponding simulated scenarios and more. This allows instructors to teach the concept in the classroom, then immediately train the skill in the simulator. Best of all, V-VICTA curricula comes free with all law enforcement simulators, simultaneously easing the financial burden on departments while providing high-quality modern training.

From Autism Awareness to Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment, VirTra ensures every course has ample information provided by in-house subject matter experts, partners and other industry experts. In addition to simulation science, our partners also provide us with new information, studies and insights—such as our partnership with SARRC for our Autism curriculum—which in turn is passed on to our clients and their officers.

National Certification Saves Time and Money

Think of all the steps you have to take to create curriculum, let alone have it certified. You have to write lesson plans, research topics and have the course reviewed to ensure clarity. If you want to nationally certify it, you have to submit it for review and make necessary corrections in order for it to meet training standards. All of this takes time and requires spending.

Many training simulation companies would stop at simply creating it, but VirTra does the work of certifying the coursework for agencies, alleviating some pressure. All V-VICTA courses are nationally-certified through the IADLEST National Certification Program™ for POST Certification, which sets the national training standards for curriculum certification across 36 states. To ensure only the highest quality training receives this certification, each course is critically reviewed by IADLEST members and must then pass the rigors of their independent review process.

With all V-VICTA materials bearing the NCP seal, instructors know they are receiving quality training materials, thus saving time and money from creating their own coursework. In fact, as of May 2022, VirTra offers 82.75 hours of V-VICTA training. Because 1 hour of curriculum takes an average of 50 hours of research, preparation and approvals, VirTra’s offering of 82.75 hours of training saves departments roughly 5,378.75 man-hours. Imagine how much more can be accomplished as an instructor when you save more than 5,000 hours! Because these curricula are both POST approved and nationally-certified, departments automatically receive training hours whenever the curriculum is taught. Officers who complete the training are awarded with an official certificate.

In addition to saving departments time from creating the training materials, V-VICTA further saves time through the curriculum’s structure. All modules can be broken into 15–30-minute intervals for optimal roll call learning, or if one’s schedule allows for quick periods of training. This method known as “interleaved/interwoven training” ensures officers receive quality training without sacrificing extensive periods of time.

A Glimpse at V-VICTA

One of our recent curricula is our Special Populations: Autism Awareness training. In 2021, the CDC has discovered that 1 in 44 children has been diagnosed with autism, making this training critical for all officers, as they are likely to eventually encounter someone on the spectrum. Those with autism may have difficulty communicating and exhibit repetitive behavior and/or speech patterns, so officers must know how to properly recognize the signs and interact.

To first educate officers, the Autism Awareness curriculum provides instructors with a lesson plan and presentation that teaches some of the more common signs of autism, including: avoiding eye contact, hand flapping, rocking back and forth, resistance to control, etc. This is paired with a training scenario featuring SARRC CEO Daniel Openden, who goes into further detail. After gaining this understanding, officers are able to practice their skills with the corresponding scenarios. Actual adults with autism are featured in the scenarios to provide police the chance to see real-life examples of autistic behaviors.

In creating these materials, several VirTra clients participated in review and early beta testing of both the curriculum materials and scenarios. After months of research, hard work, testing, filming and certification, Autism Awareness was ready to be used on VirTra’s simulators. Now, dozens of agencies around the United States are using scenarios that can assist them in recognizing the signs of autism.

Besides Autism Awareness, other available courses include the following (with more to come):

Future courses that are in development and set to be released to VirTra’s law enforcement clients include duty to intervene, infectious diseases and deaf/hard of hearing.

Getting Started

Getting started with using V-VICTA is easy. All current VirTra clients have access to the materials. New courses that come out are installed on annual service trips, ensuring that agencies don’t miss out on any coursework as it launches. VirTra has simplified the process so that all you need to do is access the files, review the materials and then teach your class.

Training is a critical component for law enforcement, but the quality of the training is just as important. With lives on the line, and the dangerous atmosphere that comes with the job, instructors must train their officers to the highest level of preparedness. V-VICTA serves as one of the best and easiest resources, with no hassle, as it comes free with all law enforcement simulators. Start training your officers in the most modern, powerful, stress-inoculating simulators on the market. Talk to a VirTra representative to get started.

 

Article originally published by Officer.com

As a member of law enforcement, think for a moment about how many people you interact with daily and how many people you talk with in one shift. Effective communication is a critical piece of the job. We interact with individuals from all walks of life. That includes individuals who have mental illness. The key to effective communication is behavior recognition to choose the best communication style for the individual and the situation.

When it comes to interacting with individuals who have mental illness, choosing the communication style that best fits the situation is the best course of action. We do not communicate with a diagnosis, but with a human being.

The question we should ask ourselves: does the diagnosis itself matter? In most cases, it does not.

A diagnosis is informative at best. What is more important from a law enforcement perspective is we choose the right type of communication for an individual and the behavior exhibited at the time of interaction. The risk comes from misreading behaviors from individuals and not from whether a person has a diagnosis or not.

However, there is a large part of the population that has a diagnosis for a mental illness at any given time. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults in the U.S. have some type of mental illness. Mental illness is a broad term – there are many symptoms that accompany different diagnoses. Awareness of behavior is a key factor in how an officer interacts with any person, mental illness or not.

Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Some disorders are genetic and others are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. They can be influenced by many factors, environment included.

Law enforcement officers interact with individuals who may have one or more of the following diagnoses:

  • Anxiety
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Crisis and crisis-like behavior
  • Dementia and Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Depression
  • Expression of suicidal ideation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Use
  • Trauma & PTS
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Choosing the Best Communication Strategy

It is important to emphasize that members of law enforcement should not attempt to diagnose; the goal is familiarization of behaviors. Individuals who have a serious mental illness may find themselves more likely to have an encounter with police. In fact, persons who have a mental illness are more likely to be victims of a crime. That doesn’t mean there are not interactions that have violence, volatility, and instability. But that comes from anyone we deal with and is not relative to mental illness alone.

Some strategies for dealing with crisis or crisis-like behavior may include:

  • Actively listen
  • Speak calmly
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Allow individuals to express their emotions if safe to do so
  • Try to distance a person from whatever or whoever is causing them distress (redirection)

Another critical component of understanding mental illness is intervention. When possible, encourage individuals to seek help. Knowing what is available and providing information lays a foundation for showing you care and that there is hope.

Never sacrifice safety for a behavioral health intervention. We have a responsibility to the individual, the public, and to ourselves. Abandoning sound tactics is never the answer.

Substance Use Disorders & Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is a known problem – one where a person experiences both a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. People use substances for various reasons. There is an correlation of trauma and substance use.

Some diagnoses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may have behaviors that mimic substance use.  Recognizing the differences is not necessarily possible. That is why addressing behavior is the key.

Autism

Autism spectrum disorder affects the way a person socializes, speaks and acts. It is called a spectrum for a reason – there are some people with autism that have barely noticeable traits, while others are entirely nonverbal and rely on a caregiver to help them communicate.

There have been instances where a person on the autism spectrum have experienced difficulties and trauma as officers thought that drugs played a part in the behavior rather than there was a foundation of miscommunication. The number of similar incidents involving members on the spectrum creates the notion that there is a lack of training in this field.

Why Simulation Training Helps

When designed and tested correctly, simulation training provides a realistic environment for law enforcement members to practice in. Video-based simulation is even better, as it features real people and allows officers to pick up on subtle visual cues (such as facial expressions and small movements) that cannot be replicated with CGI.

The right kind of simulator has high-definition video, numerous scenario branching options and thorough debrief capabilities. When interacting with an on-screen subject, officers should practice to recognize various behaviors and choose the appropriate verbal techniques for that situation.

Much more than hardware, the vital part of simulation training is the quality of the content. Do officers truly learn something from what they are experiencing in the simulator? VirTra ensures content quality and skill transfer by submitting all curriculum – including our Mental Illness and Autism Awareness courses – to IADLEST for NCP certification.

VirTra’s Solution

Working and creating partnerships with industry experts has assisted VirTra in creating coursework that benefits law enforcement. With 15 hours of mental illness curriculum and 2 hours of autism curriculum, police trainers can have effective training at their fingertips. The pre-made curriculum doesn’t just include the scenarios, but also student handouts, instructor manuals, testing materials and more. It is intended to make the instructor’s job easier with coursework that can be used right out of the box.

In 2021, the state of Utah began requiring that law enforcement members obtain training hours solely dedicated to autism awareness, thanks to the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Some of the hours involve the use of a VirTra training simulator due to its immersive qualities and the detailed course structure.

“The beautiful thing about the system is that we can change the dialogue, we can change the reaction, the response and we can make it harder [or] better depending on how the officer is navigating this situation. We worked with families with children with autism spectrum disorder; we worked with experts in the education field, in the medical community, to behavioral scientists, to actually try to create and develop these modules.” – Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General (Quote: ABC News)

By having the officers at your agency become familiar with the concepts of mental illness and autism spectrum disorder, they are keeping both themselves and their communities safe. It allows agencies to build trust and confidence from the community by making an effort to understand all members within it.

If you wish to learn more about VirTra’s coursework and how we combine simulation technology and adult learning, contact us.

 

Article originally published by Officer.com

No doubt about it: law enforcement is no easy job. Between the critical media, community issues and societal wariness of officers, there is a lot of pressure. Yet, even in this tumultuous time, these brave men and women still step up and choose to protect and serve their communities. For that, we are ever grateful. 

To help officers prepare for this job—specifically gain skills and confidence for the job—VirTra offers law enforcement training simulators with corresponding nationally-certified curriculum. After all, the best way for an officer to gain confidence is to know for a fact that they are trained to the highest level of preparedness.  

Increasing Officer Confidence 

One of the most critical components of training is the quality of the content. SMEs who understand the field and its unique challenges create each scenario and curriculum. Scenarios are then filmed with professional actors and high-quality equipment. Keeping scenarios video-based helps trainees react accordingly to subtle visual cues such as facial expressions.

In addition to the physical fidelity created by the high-resolution, real-life video scenarios, each scenario is equipped with extensive branching options. This creates psychological fidelity, as the scenario unfolds based on the officer’s actions or instructor’s preference. By utilizing this training style, it is easier for officers’ skills to be transferred to the field.

Increasing Instructor Confidence 

The need for officers to succeed can result in pressure on instructors, as it is their job to ensure officers are prepared to handle any call. To help, VirTra created the V-VICTA® program—Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy—which is comprised of nationally-certified training curriculum. VirTra works with nationally-recognized partnerships to develop each course.

It is simpler than you might think. Instructors begin by teaching the curriculum in the classroom, utilizing the slide presentation and handbooks provided. Trainees then practice these skills in a simulated scenario. Each curriculum receives the IADLEST National Certification Program™ for POST Certification, ensuring your officers only train with the best materials. 

Another way to increase instructor confidence is to increase their knowledge about simulation training. VirTra offers a 40-hour train-the-trainer course which covers best practices and concepts on training effectively and maximizing time in our simulators. Understanding the best simulation training methods results in better training which results in better-prepared officers. Instructors who complete the course will receive an Advanced VirTra Operator certification. 

To start increasing officer and instructor confidence through better training, contact a VirTra training specialist. 

How do you transition your officers from traditional iron sights to a pistol-mounted red dot optic? There are plenty of good training ideas—such as increased practice on the range, lectures on how the optic works, etc.—but one of the best is having your officers engage in an extensive training course.

One such course is VirTra’s nationally-certified course “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment.” This new curriculum has 21 accompanying training drills and was created in conjunction with Victory First® utilizing Aimpoint® red dot optics. Just as it sounds, this course is designed to help officers successfully transition from the traditional iron sights to a modern pistol-mounted red dot optic.

How it Works

Red Dot is one of VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum, and thus, follows the same structure. With this curriculum, instructors receive lecture materials, presentations, handbooks, range drills and more to teach, train, test and sustain their officers on the given material. This starts in the classroom, then leads to extensive red dot optic training either in the simulator or on the range.

Since training a new skill requires extensive practice, the Red Dot Optic course includes 21 detailed drills; everything from how many yards out the target is, time limits, rounds and repetitions, etc. VirTra includes this information so instructors can either practice it on their real-life training simulators, or on the range.

After the Course

Obviously, the point of any course is to familiarize officers with the taught skill—in this case, utilizing the pistol-mounted red dot optic—but VirTra’s courses go a few steps further. After the course is completed, officers should be able to identify advantages and disadvantages of the red dot system, identify the importance of target and threat focus instead of the focus on the front sight, and more.

To continue learning about VirTra’s “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment” curriculum and how officers benefit from this training, please contact a VirTra specialist.

Law enforcement encounter a variety of individuals during their careers. While substance use and mental illness are discussed and trained for, there are also certain medical conditions and diseases that can affect normal communication. These conditions and diseases must also be taught to officers to prepare them to help any and every individual in their community.

For example, neurocognitive disorders (NCD’s) affect memory, understanding, task performance and much more1. The most overwhelmingly common NCD is Alzheimer’s Disease, and in the past all NCD’s were classified as dementia, when in fact there are multiple types and levels. NCD’s are typically associated with the elderly since it is most prevalent in people 65 years of age are older, but it is not exclusive to this age group.

The way NCD’s work is by causing damage to brain cells. The damage gradually makes symptoms more and more noticeable over time. Sometimes it is not immediately apparent that someone has an NCD – at times it takes a few moments for signs to appear. In general, symptoms law enforcement officers may notice and want to look out for include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Getting lost or misplacing items frequently
  • Poor judgment in decision making

Some of these symptoms do not always reflect Alzheimer’s or other similar diseases, but also traumatic brain injury or substance abuse. Law enforcement officers must also be aware that those with NCD’s have the possibility of becoming verbally or physically aggressive.

Officers can strategically communicate with those who have NCD’s by doing the following2:

  • Identify yourself
  • Speak slowly and non-threatening
  • Ask one question at a time, allowing the individual to respond
  • Repeat questions and phrases as necessary
  • Avoid confrontation

‘Neurocognitive Disorders’ is a section of VirTra’s “Mental Illness” curriculum. With a 12-page instructor guide, slideshow presentation and testing materials, law enforcement instructors can familiarize trainees with dementia and NCD’s. The coursework is designed to be used alongside simulated scenarios to allow ‘learning by doing.’

The entire “Mental Illness” set of V-VICTA® curriculum contains 15 hours of detailed coursework certified by IADLEST. To learn about how V-VICTA can be incorporated into your department’s training, contact a specialist.

 

References:

  1. Psychology Today. (2019). Neurocognitive Disorders (Mild and Major). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/neurocognitive-disorders-mild-and-major
  2. Alzheimer’s Association. (2006). Safe Return, Alzheimer’s disease: Guide for Law Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/national/documents/SafeReturn_lawenforcement.pdf

It sounds like a simple concept – one officer is a contact officer and another is the cover officer. The truth is, these concepts and principles arose from a number of unfortunate incidents in law enforcement where the contact and cover roles were blurred or even non-existent. Each officer has a role and responsibilities that are vital to safety and must be understood.

A tragic event in 1984 laid the groundwork for contact and cover principles. Officers Timothy Ruopp and Kimberly Tonahill of San Diego PD lost their lives on duty when apprehending two subjects for a misdemeanor charge. While Ruopp was writing the subjects a citation, Tonahill began conducting a Terry Frisk on one subject who overpowered her and shot both officers with a handgun. What went wrong? The contact officer, Tonahill, was not being observed or protected since Ruopp was focused on writing the citations.

Duties and Responsibilities of Contact & Cover Officers

A contact officer must:

  • Communicate, contain and control the subject(s)
  • Search and arrest subject(s)
  • Communicate with the cover officer and dispatch
  • Primarily assigned the use of less-lethal force options

The cover officer must:

  • Protect the contact officer
  • Remain aware of surroundings and third parties
  • Relay intelligence to contact officer
  • Provides lethal cover

It is important to reiterate that role switching is acceptable, but blurring the roles is not. Teamwork is mandatory and effective communication between officers, to subjects and to dispatch is imperative. Officers must monitor and maintain proper positioning and appropriate distancing. At times, subjects may need to be moved to help the cover officer observe.

All of these points and many more are mentioned in the Contact and Cover Concepts V-VICTA™ curriculum. This course is 3 hours of NCP certified material certified by IADLEST. Like other V-VICTA curriculum, Contact and Cover Concepts includes a training manual, associated simulator scenarios, a presentation, testing materials and more.

To learn how to incorporate Contact and Cover Concepts and the vital principles covered within the curriculum, contact a product specialist.

If you have been following VirTra for any amount of time, you may have noticed that we put great emphasis on our content. High-definition video and technologically advanced hardware is not the only aspects that aids in training law enforcement, but it is the training content that ensures effective knowledge transfer. VirTra’s efforts even go beyond intense and realistic scenarios – the VirTra content team of subject matter experts create curriculum for instructors to utilize in a fast, simple way.

This curriculum, known as V-VICTA™ (VirTra – Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy) pairs VirTra’s immersive scenarios with actual NCP certified materials. VirTra customers receive lesson plans, scoring rubrics, presentations, class surveys and more. We know that it is time-consuming and difficult to create your own curriculum and have it certified, so VirTra has done all the legwork for its training partners.

V-VICTA has proven to be effective for Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). Todd Brophy, the Firearms Range Training Coordinator, has incorporated the curriculum into his force options instruction classes. Brophy allows the CJTC students to learn in a classroom setting first, then coaches them while they practice in one of the 10 units, they use VirTra simulations for in their Firearms Program.

“The feedback we are consistently getting from the students is ‘we need more of this,’” said Brophy, who likes to allow his students to work in pairs for practice in communication skills and contact & cover concepts. “The students seem to enjoy the training and provide feedback of what they are taking away at the end of the session consistent with the learning goals and objectives we have identified for each training segment.”

Brophy’s successful method of using the curriculum combines his existing teaching modalities with V-VICTA’s. V-VICTA can be used in tandem with pre-developed ideas, or just used right out of the box. Some of the certified courses offered include:

Beyond VirTra’s in-house subject matter experts who are retired law enforcement members, we also partner with industry experts to ensure the quality of content. Before becoming available to customers, the curriculum is submitted to IADLEST to undergo a rigorous review to become NCP certified.

To receive V-VICTA and its updated content, you must be a current VirTra customer on an Annual Service Plan. To find out more about how to obtain V-VICTA curriculum, contact a product specialist here.