I remember teaching at the police academy and as I was in the middle of telling a story to the class, one of the recruits spouted off, “You’re just making that up! There’s no way that really happened!” My response was simple: “Listen, if I was making it up, I would make up something you’d believe.”

What was the point of me mentioning this story? Well, if you’ve been in law enforcement for more than a day, you probably already figured out that anything can happen, at any time, at any place. Nothing is off limits. And that can include you responding to an active threat or active killer within a place of worship. Mass chaos ensues.

From 2006 – 2016, there were approximately 147 instances of gunfire on church grounds, resulting in 240 wounded and 84 deaths. (Lindner, 2023) The number of incidents occurring inside a place of worship continues to increase. If your jurisdiction includes any type of a place of worship, you need to include these types of locations in your training. Thankfully, VirTra has done the hard work for you!

There are 4 new active threat/active killer scenarios that all take place within a place of worship. The scenarios will be installed on your VirTra system during your next service update (if you have an active service plan).

“Mass Chaos” starts off with a growing number of 911 calls reporting an active shooter in a church. The calls continue, until they come to an incredibly loud crescendo, leading to the emergency dispatch to officers.

The scenario opens to the exterior of a church with law enforcement moving to stop the threat, and parishioners attempting to flee the scene. Within this multi-incident scenario, officers will have to make split-second decisions on who may or may not be a threat. They will also be tested on shot placement, accountability and maintaining their areas of responsibility. Single engagements, non-engagements and even hostage situations can all be used within the scenario.

The three other scenarios that are being released have all been made using “Mass Chaos” as a base. It has been subdivided into scenarios titled “Church Crisis,” “Holy Moly” and “Holy Hostage.”

These smaller scenarios utilize single engagements from the “Mass Chaos” incident, as well as additional assets using our V-Author® character library. We’ve also filmed an additional walk-up video for “Holy Hostage” to make it a more unique and unpredictable training event for the students to go through.

These scenarios combine an amazing blend of realistic radio traffic, panicked church goers and special effects that will raise the heartrate of even your most veteran officers. If you add VirTra’s V-Threat-Fire® device to the training, you’ll have added real-world consequences to the simulation.

VirTra is always looking to add new content to our training simulators. Look out for Mass Chaos, Church Crisis, Holy Hostage and Holy Moly during your next update!

Stay Safe!

 

References

Lindner, J. (2023, December 20). Church Shooting Statistics: Market Report & Data. Retrieved from Gitnux: htps://gitnux.org/church-shootng-statistics/

Expansion of Scenario and Character Libraries, Coupled with Recoil Kit Enhancements, Highlights VirTra’s Active Drive to Elevate Realism in Training

 

CHANDLER, Ariz. — January 18, 2024 — VirTra, Inc. (Nasdaq: VTSI) (“VirTra” or the “Company”), a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators, firearms training simulators for the law enforcement and military markets, today announced new video-based scenarios for its training simulators and unveiled its True-Fire™ recoil kit, which is designed to minimize false firing incidents. Alongside this, the Company is expanding its V-Author® library by adding 27 new characters, including hospital and corrections workers, as well as community members, patients, and inmates. The new content and True-Fire™ recoil kits are set to launch at SHOT Show on January 23-26 at the Venetian Expo in Las Vegas, Booth #20535.

The newest video-based scenarios encompass a variety of situations such as active shooters, suspicious subjects, disturbances, duty to intervene, traffic stops, and more. Available in 4K resolution, these scenarios give law enforcement members a crystal-clear, highly immersive view of the action. Each scenario is crafted using top-tier cinematic equipment and professional actors, enhancing the realism of the training experience. Furthermore, the entire production process – from writing and filming to quality assurance – involves subject matter experts at each stage to ensure each scenario is accurate and effective for learning.

VirTra CEO John Givens stated: “Training content needs to align with the specific mission that individuals and teams are trying to accomplish, which is why we’re producing content that closely mirrors real-world scenarios. VirTra is hyper-focused on the production of superior scenarios and character, tailored for the unique needs of law enforcement, corrections, and hospital staff. We’ve invested in state-of-the-art equipment, skilled personnel, and subject matter experts, and we regularly survey our customers to ensure that our content is effective and of the highest quality. Every piece of content we produce is crafted to ensure our clients are trained effectively no matter what their state or agency policies require.”

One notable scenario equips officers and security personnel to handle active threats at places of worship. In this immersive simulation, officers respond to multiple reports of an active shooter. They must navigate the scenario by engaging threats while simultaneously being aware of fleeing innocents, testing their ability to make split-second decisions about potential threats. The scenario also incorporates elements of de-escalation and hostage negotiation, further diversifying the training experience and providing situational awareness that is challenging to replicate outside this immersive environment. To address various training objectives, the multiple incidents within this single scenario have been divided into three sections, each focusing on different training points.

V-Author® is VirTra’s scenario authoring tool that allows users to create their own scenarios using just a panoramic image. This user-friendly tool lets instructors drag and drop characters into the scene and assign them specific actions. Enhancing this capability, VirTra has added 27 new characters to the V-Author® library. This includes 18 characters tailored for the hospital industry and 9 designed specifically for the jails and corrections industry. Each character comes with a range of actions, providing instructors with the flexibility to tailor scenarios to specific training objectives. The expanded roster of V-Author® characters reflects VirTra’s commitment to supporting training needs in various sectors, especially for hospital staff, security personnel, and corrections officers.

These characters are created using VirTra’s state-of-the-art Volumetric Capture Studio, which captures the true likeness of real actors. Thanks to this innovative technology, the video-based characters seamlessly integrate into various training formats. They can drag and drop the characters to be readily incorporated into both traditional video scenarios and VirTra’s headset-based virtual reality product, V-XR®.

In addition to the new training content, VirTra is introducing True-Fire™, a mechanical enhancement to its recoil kits. This feature, designed to minimize false firing incidents, is a significant advancement in training realism. True-Fire™ includes upgraded materials and firmware/software improvements to prevent unintentional shot registration when a weapon is slid, tapped, or dropped during simulations. Many tetherless recoil kits on the market typically register false fire which skew the results in the final training evaluations, and VirTra has created a proprietary solution that will debut at SHOT Show.

If you would like to have a demonstration of VirTra’s newest technology and content, email sales@virtra.com or stop by Booth #20535 at SHOT Show.

 

About VirTra, Inc.

VirTra (Nasdaq: VTSI) is a global provider of judgmental use of force training simulators and firearms training simulators for the law enforcement, military, educational and commercial markets. The company’s patented technologies, software, and scenarios provide intense training for de-escalation, judgmental use-of-force, marksmanship, and related training that mimics real-world situations. VirTra’s mission is to save and improve lives worldwide through practical and highly effective virtual reality and simulator technology. Learn more about the company at www.VirTra.com.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

The information in this discussion contains forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections. The words “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “predicts,” “potential,” “continue,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. We may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in our forward-looking statements and you should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements that we make. The forward-looking statements are applicable only as of the date on which they are made, and we do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this document are made based on our current expectations, forecasts, estimates and assumptions, and involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause results or events to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. In evaluating these statements, you should specifically consider various factors, uncertainties and risks that could affect our future results or operations. These factors, uncertainties and risks may cause our actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement set forth in the reports we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). You should carefully consider these risks and uncertainties described and other information contained in the reports we file with or furnish to the SEC before making any investment decision with respect to our securities. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

 

Investor Relations Contact:

Matt Glover and Alec Wilson

Gateway Group, Inc.

VTSI@gateway-grp.com

949-574-3860

Active shootings in general have been on the rise in recent years, and that includes churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship. The uptick in active threats has made people understandably uneasy, with some places of worship adding armed security.

One of America’s deadliest mass shootings took place in Sutherland Springs, TX in 2017 at the First Baptist Church. Tragically, 26 people were killed when a gunman opened fire. An article by USA Today listed fairly recent attacks on houses of worship:

  • Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, TX – January 2022
  • Chabad of Poway synagogue, CA – April 2019
  • Two mosques in New Zealand – March 2019
  • Tree of Life synagogue, PA – October 2018

The variations of location and religion show that this type of attack can happen anywhere and to any place of worship. It may be unknown if the acts are driven by hate, mental instability or a combination of both, either way, it is an unfortunate reality.

Simulation Training for Active Threats

VirTra’s “Mass Chaos” scenario was released in October 2023 for the V-300®, and now it is available for the V-180® and V-100® as well. This is another addition to our existing library of active threat scenarios, such as those that involve an active shooter at movie theaters and schools.

Mass Chaos is a scenario that will truly bring users’ heart rates up. In this scenario, 911 calls are reporting an active shooter situation at a local church. When entering, there will be an immediate engagement with an active threat. As the officers move through the church, there will be other engagements including hostages, fleeing civilians, and opportunities to make quick decisions.

There are several training points in Mass Chaos such as hostage negotiation, stress inoculation, situational awareness, and communication. Due to this, the scenario has also been broken down into three additional smaller scenarios available in all 3 simulators.

  • Church Crisis – User must quickly and effectively engage threats with deadly force, as well as make split second decisions on whether someone is a threat or not.
  • Holy Hostage – Officer will face a hostage situation that must be quickly resolved.
  • Holy Moly – Officers and church security must work together to clear a church during an active threat situation.

These scenarios are brand new and will be added to your library during your next service trip. If you’d like to learn more about the new content or update your service plan, contact a specialist.

VirTra’s use-of-force simulators have a vast number of scenarios covering everything from de-escalation to active threats. The scope broadens even more when the number of branching options is considered, allowing multiple ways to reach a resolution. With an average of 85 branching options per scenario, no single event is guaranteed to go a certain way – just like in the field, where  unpredictability is part of the job.

The Instructor Takes the Lead on Scenarios

Instructors can drive a scenario in any direction based on the student’s interaction with the on-screen character. VirTra’s branching features allow for instructors to manipulate the evolution to achieve any manner of training objective. The objective could be based upon policy, best practices, or vital training like de-escalation. Trainers can reward good behavior by having an aggressive character become compliant because proper de-escalation techniques were used. On the other hand, students who are not performing well can be encouraged to step up their game.

Usually, departmental policy dictates what skillset trainees will be developing during recurrent training. With our branching options, instructors can accomplish departmental training objectives by running each trainee through the same scenario, however using our branching function the scenario can play out differently based on individual performance. If the same scenario with the same pathway to resolution is run multiple times, students learn to “game” the system and recall what happens next. Giving an instructor to change things up prevents trainees from becoming complacent.

Branching Scenarios

An example of a VirTra scenario is “Midnight Madness,” where the officer is responding to an active threat in a theater. They chase an armed male suspect after navigating the theater and seeing injured victims. In the end, what will the suspect do? Will he give up or will he begin to fire his weapon? Will the trainee fire back in time or be hit by gunfire? What if an innocent person pops out and startles the trainee, causing them to fire their weapon? Each action has different consequences – just like in reality.

Another scenario called “Teacher’s Pet” features a broad array of branching options. The image below shows only a portion of the available options.

As VirTra aims to create a realistic experience during training, the content must not be brushed over. Screens and hardware may be impressive, but what the trainee gets out of the experience could save lives.

For more information about VirTra’s intense and effective simulator training options, contact a product specialist.

The biggest part of a training experience is its content. Big screens and fancy headsets may be flashy and eye-catching, but without the content to learn from, they won’t do much. Making high-quality scenarios that users can learn from involves many steps, extensive planning, and rigorous testing,

 

Creation with the Client in Mind

Before anything else, it must be determined what kind of scenarios our training partners will benefit from the most. Using suggestions from clients and keeping current affairs in mind, treatments are written by the SME’s. For example, in the wake of the George Floyd incident, the Content Department immediately began working on the “Duty to Intervene” videos and scenarios. It then goes to the director to be made into a working script and shot lists.

Since the addition of the V3™ Volumetric Capture Studio, VirTra will be capturing real people and inserting them into scenarios as 3D objects that can be used on both screen-based and VR platforms. It tackles the limitations of CGI. This ensures that the environment and characters are believable, thus leading to a more valuable training experience.

 

Professional Filming Sessions

Where some simulation companies use video filmed from a cell phone, VirTra involves professional equipment and actors. CGI used in most training simulations is simply not realistic enough to elicit emotional responses. In fact, some CGI characters “speak” without their lips even moving. Having a real person shown on-screen increases sympathetic response and more closely mimics real life.

The VirTra Difference involves professional equipment and paid actors. These filming sessions can take hours or sometimes multiple days to ensure footage acquired is up to standard. In-house subject matter experts who have law enforcement and/or military experience are on the set. This ensures the content being filmed will have relevance and realistic actions.

 

The End Product

After filming is wrapped up, the next step is editing and creating the dozens of branching options. Situations in the real world are fluid and evolving, so our scenarios are designed this way too. During an active shooter event, the suspect may drop their weapon and surrender, or begin firing at the officer. A seemingly calm person could pull a knife if the wrong words are used to communicate. All these possibilities must be edited and programmed.

Upon completion, scenarios are added to existing simulators and all new ones assembled going forward. Some scenarios and training videos are used in tandem with V-VICTA® curriculum. This coursework is NCP-certified by IADLEST and includes training manuals, testing materials, and more. We want to take the hard work out of the learning process so instructors can get their lessons right out of the box.

 

If you are interested in adopting this technology, contact a product specialist. Check out the video below for a quick rundown of how just a single scenario is filmed in a professionally organized manner.

Every once in a while, you hear about an encounter with a civilian that proved to be a close call. Whether it’s from a news story or a fellow officer, it’s nerve-wracking to think it could happen to you. Even some of VirTra’s training scenarios that recruits might think will never happen, very well could happen.

A recent example of this occurred in Oakland, California. An officer from Oakland Police Department was able to get out of a terrifying situation that may have turned deadly. Crediting the great response of his backup and the solid training he had received, he was unharmed.

A Man with a Sword

Though a knife or gun are the typical weapon of choice, some subjects are more creative, such as the male the Oakland PD officer encountered. The object appeared at first as a long stick from afar, but as they made contact, the officer could see that it was a sheathed sword.

The Oakland officer recalled the following details about this encounter:

I asked him to put the sword down on the hood of a nearby vehicle. The male complied and I called officers that were on duty and told him to send me cover units for a man armed with a sword. I continued to stall the male while waiting for cover units. The male continued to put his hands in his pocket and continued to move closer to the sword. I continued to tell the male to keep his hands out of his pocket and to back away from the sword. The male would comply but would continue the same behavior. I continued to update on the phone with the officer of the situation while waiting for the cover units. The male continued to move towards the sword. I then grabbed the sword from the hood of the car to prevent him from reaching it.”

The officer’s backup arrived shortly after and were able to take the man into custody with no further issues.

The Training

Oakland PD’s Training Academy has been using their V-300® since 2020. Training in the simulator and going through various de-escalations has helped the responding officer make safe decisions quickly. He found that the many scenarios that allow de-escalation and “talking through” situations were of assistance. This was especially the case when he had to delay the agitated male while waiting for backup.

“I believe VirTra is a great training tool and helps prepare officers in dealing with similar situations using practical and realistic scenarios” said the Oakland PD officer. “It allows you to go through scenarios and debrief what went right and what you could possibly do differently. He also mentioned that using VirTra as a training method is fun and keeps officers engaged.

The Takeaways

When asked how he believes other officers should utilize VirTra scenarios, he answered simply. “Take the training seriously.” Instead of gaming the system or running through scenarios as if they were just a ‘check-the-box’ training event, go through them as if they were really happening, he suggested.

VirTra’s scenarios are filmed in video – not unrealistic CGI – for exactly this reason. Content developers and subject matter experts believe in the power of high-fidelity scenarios to create lifelike events. Every situation is different; some requiring force, others requiring verbal communication. In the story told by the Oakland PD officer, he was able to resolve a terrifying situation by simply communicating.

“I think the most important thing in these situations is to remain calm and rely on your training and the help of your fellow officers,” he said in conclusion after recounting the event.

*Special thanks to Oakland PD and the Oakland Training Academy for sharing their success story.

You’re on foot patrol with your partner when you see a subject that you’ve had interactions with before. The two of you decide to speak to the subject, and proceed to walk down the alley to see what he is up to.

As you approach him, he decides to be uncooperative. He doesn’t want to talk to you, he starts to flail his arms and become more aggressive. As your partner attempts to arrest the subject, a white pickup truck suddenly pulls up on the street behind you. The driver immediately gets out and starts shooting, striking the subject and your partner. Your only option is to get off the ‘X’ and return fire in an attempt to stop this subject.

You fire your handgun, and immediately stop the threat. The simulator screens around you tell you to make your weapons safe and to prepare for a debrief. Congratulations, you just completed the “Nightmare Alley” scenario in the VirTra simulator.

The scenario sounded a bit far-fetched, didn’t it? What are the chances that while you’re out checking on a subject, some random guy is going to pull up and just start shooting at you? That wouldn’t really happen…would it?

As a matter of fact, that scenario DID happen, which is how it became a training event for the VirTra simulator. That brings us to the point of this article: How realistic is your training?
When you’re putting officers through scenario training, how much time do you put into the development of the event? What are you basing the scenarios on?

With the amount of body cam footage that is easily available, you should have no problem creating scenarios based on real-life incidents. Many of the high-profile incidents are routinely debriefed by training experts, so a lot of the legwork for you lesson plan is already done for you. The bonus of creating scenarios based on incidents that actually happened is that when a student decides to wise-off and shout “This would never happen!” It’s always a great feeling pulling out the “This Actually Happened” card.

When taking an actual incident and making it into a training scenario, it’s tempting to just copy it and call it “done.” What we do at VirTra – and what we suggest other trainers do – is first decide what the training goal is. Once that’s done, alter the scenario enough that it’s not easily recognizable by the trainees and that you’ll be able to have multiple ways to run the same scenario, but with different options based on how the trainee handles the incident.

Finally, using real incidents to create your training scenarios will give you and your agency a lot of validation on the training that it’s doing. Training to the actual situations officers are facing makes it a lot easier to justify that training.

Stay Safe. Stay Dedicated.


This article was written by TJ Alioto, VirTra Law Enforcement Subject Matter Expert

Warfighters and soldiers in the field face numerous dangerous and life-threatening situations every day. Not only are the enemies they face unpredictable, but they must also make decisions based on their unique environments, which are difficult to mimic or simulate using common learning methods. A simulator that utilizes real video is a highly effective way to train soldiers, and with time, this style of training can lead to better reactions and decision-making skills.

Virtual Simulators are Immersive

In many cases, recruits learn how to handle situations they may encounter in the field by listening to a lecture, watching a video, or going out into the field and practicing a variety of maneuvers. Though these things can and often do help members of the military learn what to do in certain situations, these methods lack realism and do little to properly train soldiers. When faced with a life-threatening situation, soldiers who have experienced that situation before are far more likely to react appropriately.

VirTra’s simulators are designed to provide a completely immersive experience and help soldiers feel as if they are truly out in the field. They utilize high-quality video and sound, and they come with dozens of pre-programmed scenarios that can be customized for unique situations. This makes a simulator one of the best tools available for training.

Experience Any Imaginable Scenario and Environment

Another of the biggest benefits associated with utilizing VirTra to train warfighters is the simulators’ ability to recreate almost any scenario in any possible environment. For example, a vehicle may react differently in dry conditions than in the rain, and by simulating both experiences, soldiers can learn the differences and make appropriate decisions. Types of military scenarios include green-on-blue, active threat, key leader engagement and more. Essentially, with the ability to control the scenario, the weather and the visibility, it is possible to help soldiers and warfighters learn what it is like to work in a wide range of conditions that they may not experience otherwise.

The same goes for virtual range training, where VirTra’s marksmanship programs are both customizable and ballistically accurate. This makes it a perfect supplement for live fire range training. Instructors can change the setting of the range from the time of day, weather, wind and more so military members can experience the effects different conditions have when firing. Instructors may also change the types of targets and how they appear, turn or pop up.

In-Depth Progress Measurement

VirTra gives military service members (and their instructors) an opportunity to review the actions that were taken during the simulation and improve their behaviors based upon the result. In other words, it is possible to measure soldiers’ progress objectively and completely. Simulators track everything a soldier says and does, and they can even record reaction time. Following a simulation, it is possible to review footage for debrief of any given individual’s performance. The more a servicemember experiences these scenarios, the better he or she will become at making quick decisions.

 

Service members out in the field experience a wide range of unpredictable situations. Because of this, it may seem impossible to train based on real-life experience, but this is not the case. Simulators can provide an incredibly realistic simulation of any imaginable situation in any environment, and when soldiers can learn by doing, they are far more likely to make the best decisions when faced with those scenarios in the field.

To learn more about how VirTra can help train your military squad, speak to a specialist.

Instructors need as much freedom as possible when it comes to training. After all, they know their department’s needs better than anyone. So when it comes to training, shouldn’t instructors have the ability to craft scenarios and drills to best address these needs?

This philosophy is why VirTra designed the V-Author® program. Simply put, V-Author is an easy scenario creation program that can create virtually unlimited custom image-based scenarios, skill drills, target exercises, firearms training and more.

How V-Author Works

As with all training, instructors begin by setting the stage. In this case, instructors create the scenario’s background, either by selecting an image from the provided library or uploading a picture of their own. The ability to upload pictures is critical, as instructors can have officers train in local environments, such as where situations normally arise.

After the background is selected, the next step is to drag-and-drop pre-filmed characters into the environment. VirTra’s character library is filled with dozens of single characters, crowds, props, weapons and more—any combination of which can be used. Best of all, VirTra’s training technology takes this to the next level: characters are programmed with different behaviors and reactions, which instructors can select from or have be triggered by events initiated by the trainee.

The combined abilities of uploading new environments and using unique character combinations allows instructors to have the most customized training. The powerful training doesn’t stop here, though.

Just like all other VirTra programs, V-Author is run through VOS, allowing for extensive debrief. After the training is complete, instructors can play back the situation, scrub the timeline towards specific events and show the placement of shots fired. Should a training event be particularly insightful, instructors have the ability to save a session and playback at a different time.

V-Author is an incredibly beneficial tool to departments worldwide. This article only goes into the beginning of V-Author’s abilities—for the full breadth, contact a VirTra representative!

By: Lon Bartel, VirTra SME

This article was originally published on Envisage’s website. Read below for the article’s summary, then access the entire article in the link provided below.

When you turn on the news, chances are, there is a high-profile use-of-force case being discussed. At this rate, it feels as if there is a new case each week.

Since these events are oftentimes highly emotional, they cause visceral reactions from the public, and consequently overshadow the good work and sacrifices officers perform every day.

This leads into a discussion about reasonable use of force.

“The use of reasonable force must take into account that officers are human and must make decisions in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situations. The officer may not make the right—or some would call ‘necessary’—action.”

However, the action must be reasonable. And what makes an officer’s use-of-force action reasonable?

Read the full article, which is found on Envisage’s website. Click here to be redirected.