When an officer lets their emotions get the best of them, they often show signs of it before any drastic actions occur. This is a crucial window where the officer’s partner can intervene before they lose control. If signs are ignored, it could progress and lead to excessive force or another violation of a person’s Constitutional rights.
Does your agency have policies in place for intervention? Are your officers prepared to intervene? If your answer to both of these questions is not a solid and immediate ‘yes,’ then it is time to consider solidifying intervention procedures. By emphasizing the importance of reporting misconduct and establishing a plan when witnessing it, you are protecting both your staff and the community.
VirTra has created V-VICTA® curriculum dedicated to informing agencies about officers’ duty to intervene as well as how to go about it. Simulated scenarios based off real-life events are paired with an easy-to-follow lesson plan and engaging training videos. Aptly titled “Duty to Intervene,” this course has gone through rigorous review to receive NCP certification from IADLEST.
While policies and the way agencies train vary by state, one thing certain is that every officer – regardless of rank or seniority – has the duty to intervene. It is vital to incorporate it into your training program in some way, and there have been creative methods used.
One such example is Utah Attorney General’s Office who hosts training courses dedicated entirely to the duty to intervene. Training Specialist Will Fowlke has blended VirTra into several training topics throughout the years. The latest addition is Duty to Intervene.
Utah Attorney General’s Office hosted a 2-hour training course addressing the duty to intervene and importance of reporting misconduct. The course uses excerpts from VirTra’s Duty to Intervene curriculum and utilizes scenarios on their V-300®.
“The scenarios we use include Crowd Control, Constitutionalist, Tire Tantrum, and VirTra’s new Duty to Intervene Vignettes Series that include five custom made vignettes designed to hone officers’ intervention skills” said Mr. Fowlke when discussing the utilization of scenarios during the course. “We selected these scenarios to address unconstitutional use of force, unconstitutional search and seizure, and biased police practices.” The course allows attending officers to review and analyze body cam footage. Analyzing known protest incidents helps officers learn the right and wrong ways to intervene.
Mr. Fowlke stated that he received positive feedback on the course. Participants noted that being able to review footage and participate in hands-on simulator training was helpful. In the past, Utah Attorney General’s Office has created training for Autism, Active Shooter, and other topics while utilizing VirTra’s scenarios.
If you would like to learn how you can incorporate simulated scenarios into your existing training regime, contact a specialist.
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.
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.
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.”
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.