Getting a new law enforcement simulator with many capabilities can seem overwhelming. With various options, it can be difficult to consider how to get started. The best way to approach this is to come up with a plan based on what skills and coursework are most vital to your officers and cadets.

Holland Police Department in Michigan was recently featured in the local news for their new style of training. Their 3-screen V-180® training simulator will train their 60 officers. They are able to use numerous scenarios and range options, as well as every tool on their belt – including less lethal options.

The agency has only been using their V-180 use-of-force simulator for two months, but training officers have already received positive feedback within this brief timeframe. As they familiarize themselves with the system, many of their experiences are useful for any law enforcement agency.

New Training Styles

When getting a new virtual training simulator, departments have already made the decision to change up the way they train. This can expand to the way instructors approach training.

A training style that is recommended by SME’s at VirTra – and one that was recently adopted by Holland PD – is called interleaving training. As opposed to block style training, interleaving is a more efficient way to learn and maximizes the knowledge gained. This style allows shorter but more frequent training sessions.

Discussing what Holland PD’s plans for the simulator are, Officer Osborn said,

“Our plan with the VirTra system is to use it in conjunction with reaction (bag) drills, scenario training, and live-fire range training. Rather than a replacement for any of these trainings, we see the simulator as something that will greatly enhance our current training in skillsets such as active shooter, suicidal/mentally disturbed individuals, de-escalation, traffic stops.”

Marksmanship Qualification

Different states have different marksmanship qualification courses and tests that officers must go through. While nothing can compare to live fire training, law enforcement firearms training is highly realistic in VirTra’s simulators. With customizable ranges, weather, environment and ballistic accuracy, they are a great supplement for the shooting range.

Holland PD has their qualification courses programmed into their V-180. Ranges can be customized to where targets are positioned at the same distances used in the live fire test. This helps officers and trainees prepare for their marksmanship qualification while reducing ammunition costs.

“With the current high prices of ammo, our department appreciates the ability to run struggling shooters through marksmanship drills, focusing specifically on skills such as lateral movement, use-of-cover, malfunctions, and reloads” Osborn said about the simulated range benefits.

Involving the Community

What many agencies do when they receive a new training tool that will help officers’ skills is promote it within their community. Holland PD began this by alerting local news who stopped by to cover the story. The effort of transparency allowed them to be painted in a positive light, showing that they are invested in improving safety and quality of policing.

Another way officers use the simulator to get the community involved is through citizen’s police academies. These courses typically last several weeks and teach members of the community about life as an officer. Letting attendees use a use-of-force simulator can help them understand how law enforcement prepare for real world incidents. This is something Holland PD plans to do in the near future.


To learn more about the benefits of virtual training with VirTra and how to get started once you obtain your system, contact us.