Judgmental use of force training is an important aspect of any officer’s training. As such, it should be revisited frequently to ensure officers always react appropriately to any situation they may face in the field. Defensive Tactics training is an important aspect of judgmental use of force and can be combined with virtual scenarios to train officers to handle scenarios effectively and safely.
Police should be regularly trained in each of the facets of Defensive Tactics. These include, but are not limited to:
• Strikes and Kicks—There are various ways to safely use strikes and kicks to incapacitate an aggressive or resistant subject.
• Evasion— Evasion teaches officers to shield themselves from aggressors to prevent any form of injury or incapacitation that makes apprehending the subject more difficult or impossible.
• Stances and Footwork—Officers must be able to position themselves appropriately to provide momentum or leverage required for effective strikes, kicks or evasion techniques.
• Timing—Timing is critical in Defensive Tactics, so learning when to move is just as important as learning how to move.
• Safety—Ultimately, officers must be trained to safely use Defensive Tactics to avoid unnecessary injury to themselves and/or others.
Virtual training is an effective way to train officers in the various facets of Defensive Tactics training for several reasons. First, it allows police to visualize the way a suspect or aggressor may move in a fight, allowing them to work on timing, stances and footwork in an almost unlimited capacity. The incorporation of impact reduction training suits with VirTra’s state-of-the-art technology and in utilizing cameras, instructors can thoroughly review the officers’ training sessions and provide valuable feedback during debrief. Officers can utilize this feedback in future training sessions to improve their Defensive Tactics skills.
Perhaps the best reason to utilize virtual use of force simulators for Defensive Tactics training is due to the simulator’s ability to customize scenarios to the needs of the department or individual. Like traditional use of force training, Defensive Tactics is far more effective when situation or scenario-based. The inclusion of impact reduction suits and high fidelity simulation is a dynamic and effective way to bring all of the skills and officer needs together.
Exploring each of these situations—along with dozens of others—can help officers better understand the most appropriate way to react. This could potentially help officers avoid physical combat altogether in future cases. Contact a VirTra specialist to learn more about adopting this method of training in your department.