The 5-screen, 300-degree V-300® was recently used in a study to determine the perceived effectiveness of simulation training for law enforcement. The way officers perceive the effectiveness of a style of training can affect how they perform – and by using the V-300, the study aimed to identify how officers perceive the “transferability of the training to the field” and how it compares to other types of training (p. 4).
The research article is titled “The association between participant characteristics and perceptions of the effectiveness of law enforcement tactical simulation training.” The study was written by members of the Lockwood Department of Criminal Justice as well as Monmouth University. It examined the perception of simulator training by 417 participating police officers and noted predictors of these perceptions.
As mentioned above, trainees who find a type of training valuable have a much higher chance of applying what they learned into real-world settings. The study found that “the vast majority of participants” believe the V-300 simulator training to be effective and transferrable (p. 9).
Additionally, the study provided numerous insights into simulation training. Researchers analyzed how various types of officers view and accept different training styles. Since the study included a variety of ages, races, education levels and ranks, the study was able to establish connections. Here are some interesting finds from the ‘Results’ and ‘Discussion’ sections (pp. 7-9):
• 90.1% of participating officers and recruits reported that the training provided ‘above average’ training in preparation for encounters with civilians.
• Participants employed by a municipal police department particularly believed the simulator to be effective, more so than other agency types.
• Older officers were less likely to believe simulator training is effective.
• More educated participants (bachelor’s degree or higher) were more likely to perceive the training as effective.
John Comiskey, Brian Lockwood, Shannon Cunningham & Julia Arminio (2021) The association between participant characteristics and perceptions of the effectiveness of law enforcement tactical simulator training, Police Practice and Research, 22:6, 1655-1667, DOI: 10.1080/15614263.2021.1948848
There can be a lot of misunderstanding associated with the “21 Foot Rule.” As such, Dennis Tueller, the creator, sat down to discuss this contested concept with Ken Wallentine of the Utah Attorney General’s Office in a CopTalks episode.
It begins with a discussion on the concept of a reactionary gap and human performance factors. Every person has a reaction time, which can be reduced with heavy training and stress inoculation, but nevertheless, it will always require some time. Dr. Bill Lewinski and other researchers from the Force Science Institute® demonstrated that suspects can draw a gun from their waistband, point and fire in as little as nine-one-hundredths of a second. In comparison, the reacting officer—even with gun drawn and anticipating the need to fire—needs an average of thirty-one-one-hundredths of a second to perceive the threat and pull the trigger.
This research doesn’t include the additional time of recognizing the threat as a threat (rather than something like a cell phone) or the distraction of local stimuli. But what does this have to do with the 21 Foot Rule?
Research initially conducted and published by Dennis Tueller shows that an armed assailant, standing 21 feet from an officer, is able to stab/slice the officer with their edged weapon before the officer is able to understand, react, draw and fire their handgun more than half the time.
However, officers who were able to fire were still very likely to be stabbed/sliced. As a result of this study, officers are repetitively taught to draw their weapons and be prepared to defend themselves well before an assailant closes the 21 foot distance.
There’s a lot more to this conversation, though, which can be seen here:
Just how important is it for law enforcement officers to practice transitioning between lethal and less-lethal tools? VirTra’s V-300® simulator was used in a recently published, peer-reviewed study in The Police Journal titled “Lost in transition: The effects of transitioning between firearms and electronic control devices (ECDs) on perception-response times (PRTs)” involving the effects and response times while transitioning between firearms and Axon® TASERs®. The surprising results of the study show that not only do officers not get enough of this type of training, but they also need it.
The study, written by industry experts Dr. Paul Taylor, Paul Sipe and Lon Bartel, involved a group of 139 active law enforcement officers who had their response times measured between firearm to TASER and vice versa. Officers demonstrated these actions through the VirTra simulator using rotating targets on the simulated range and firearms/tools modified for use within the simulator.
The results show that transitioning between the two tools is not simply a mindless task. It takes 2.49 seconds on average for an officer to transition from TASER to firearm and 4.7 seconds to change from a firearm to TASER, proving that the two are “not equivalent tasks.”
The study made clear that the results show implications for law enforcement training. According to the authors, 70% of the study participants were not required by their agencies to perform weapon transitions and did not appear to be fully comfortable with the task, with some having to look down at the tool they are drawing from their belt.
Transitioning through use-of-force options is needed as sometimes the force option required changes depending on how the subject acts. There have been high profile instances where the wrong tool was grabbed by mistake (such as the Daunte Wright shooting) that show the dangers of not being well-trained or properly equipped.
VirTra is the only simulation company that offers a certified Weapon Transitions course. Part of the V-VICTA™ library, Weapon Transitions is a 5-hour course that has passed rigorous review by IADLEST and received NCP certification. With changing scenarios that trainees cannot predict, instructors can use VirTra’s simulators to replicate a situation where they may need to suddenly go up or down the use-of-force continuum.
To read the abstract and download the study, click here.
With a variety of ways to train your team with simulation, there are hundreds of combinations on how you can utilize scenarios in your agency. But which combination provides the level of psychological fidelity needed to induce stress so that your team will better prepare to face challenges in the field? A simple “shoot-don’t shoot” scenario may not be enough to induce stress. However, a combination of the VirTra V-300® and our Threat-Fire® feedback device induces a measurable amount of stress. According to a new clinical study between by the collaboration of the U.S. Army Research Lab, the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the University of California, there is a significant relationship between performance and stress. Read below for the full details:
Across the board, it might seem obvious that training with a VirTra simulator would produce better results for any student looking to improve their situational awareness, but trying to PROVE the correlation in a clinical setting is something else entirely. For the results to be statistically significant, there had to be numerous trials, and in this case, they have performed a total of 256 times. From that data, they were able to correlate the performance of the subjects of the trial with their stress response. Which means that the use of the system paired with the VirTra patented Threat-Fire induced the right amount of stress to impact their performance. By impacting their performance in a significant way, they are better able to perform properly in real-world situations. Each trainer can also review their performance together as a key differentiator for those looking to optimize law enforcement and military simulation training beyond the classroom.
With the use of the patented Threat-Fire in the V-300 or any of our simulation environments, your team can produce the same stress reaction used in this independent study. By inducing stress in a controlled and safe environment, your team will be better prepared for the field. The clinical study also revealed that although initially the stress negatively impacted their performance, over time, the subjects were able to correct their performance and increase their accuracy. This paints a picture of what VirTra customers have come to love about the unique judgmental use of force training that VirTra offers. Without the ability to conduct proper stress inoculation, when the officers are out in the field, they can be more prone to react emotionally under pressure. However, by using the tools available from VirTra, these problems can be addressed to avoid negative headlines and let everyone go home safely at the end of the day.
In the long run, there is always room for improvement. The results from the study are just the start of something remarkable that shows that with the right amount of stress induced in the training environment that your team can learn how to react better under pressure. VirTra’s unique training content brings a level of realism unmatched by others, and the research shows the difference. By pairing the VirTra Threat-Fire with the immersive and adaptive scenarios available exclusively through VirTra, your team can see these changes in performance too.