On December 13, 2023, a VirTra V-100® public safety training simulator was presented to Atoka Police Department in Tennessee. Atoka PD was selected amongst hundreds of nationwide submissions during the Taskforce Santa project sponsored by VirTra and IADLEST, which provides a deserving law enforcement agency with a simulator they could not obtain otherwise. This simulator will assist Atoka PD and nearby small Tipton County agencies with various training initiatives, including de-escalation, mental health, active shooters, and crisis interventions.

The event that took place after the system’s installation was attended by dozens of people to include Atoka city staff, police officers, and local media. Attendees heard speeches from Police Chief Anthony Rudolph, Atoka Mayor Barry Akin, and VirTra CEO John Givens before viewing a demonstration of de-escalation and mental illness training scenarios.

“This is a monumental step forward in our commitment to excellence in law enforcement training and community engagement,” said Anthony Rudolph, Chief of Atoka Police Department. “The V-100 simulator is not just a tool; it is a catalyst for positive change in how we approach policing in our community.”

The V-100 simulator is a portable single-screen training device designed to replicate real-life situations and encounters.  It comes with less-lethal tools, training pistols, and a vast library of scenarios that all accurately mimic the encounters officers and civilians go through and allows for learning, engaging, communications and after-action debriefs.

There were more than 100 applicants from across the country who hoped to receive a training simulator free of charge. The common theme among each of their stories is a lack of resources that prevented them from being able to purchase one themselves. Applicants and nominees cited a strong desire to elevate their training but were not financially able to do so for various reasons.

Atoka Mayor Barry Akin views his town of Atoka and its officers in a positive light and views the emphasis on training as a historic event for the city stating, “You take a top-notch company with a great product and a top-notch town like Atoka – you’ve got a great partnership.”

CEO John Givens echoed these sentiments, hoping the gift will enhance the town’s safety: “In the true spirit of Christmas, we hope this gift will keep this community and its great officers safer than they are today through realistic training.”

The story brought to VirTra by Atoka PD in their nomination form was moving and heartwarming. They had a clear desire to better their agency and community and listed three great reasons for desiring the technology:

  • Community engagement and education
  • Enhancing officer safety and wellness
  • Mutual aid/collaboration with other small agencies

Hearing the story of what VirTra and IADLEST were providing to Atoka PD, the shipping company Pilot delivered the simulator all the way from Chandler, Arizona, to Atoka, Tennessee at no cost.

VirTra staff are thrilled to have provided the solution that officers of Atoka PD can use as a better training tool to improve their skills and keep their community safe. In the spirit of Christmas and giving, seeing an agency like Atoka PD able to further succeed through the Taskforce Santa gift has brought a smile to many faces.

To read IADLEST’s press release about this award, click here.

Powerful training creates powerful officers. With a wide variety of modern, state-of-the-art training simulators on the market, it is easy to find high-tech training solutions.

But what if your department is smaller with a training budget that matches?

VirTra offers the perfect solution. Our V-100® is a single-screen training simulator that is also portable, allowing instructors to use in the classroom, at training locations, bring it to other departments or whatever else your needs may be. As the most lightweight of the simulators, the V-100 is affordable, durable and does not require large training space.

Training is much more than the type of simulator chosen. The real training stems from the quality of scenarios, branching options and visuals presented to your officers. VirTra’s complete scenario library offers a wide variety of situations—each featuring extensive branching options to allow the situation to unfold based on the officer’s actions—which are filmed with professional equipment to create the most realistic, immersive training possible.

Seeing is Believing

In addition to the visuals and scenario design are the tools officers can use while training. The V-100 is compatible with each VirTra pistol and rifle drop-in laser recoil kit, which allows officers to train using their duty firearms without permanent modification. Better yet, this portable simulator also permits training with VirTra’s toolbelt accessories, including flashlights, OC spray, Axon® TASERs® and more for the most versatile, well-rounded portable training possible.

There is a lot packed in this portable single-screen simulator, with all of it designed to teach officers while easing an instructor’s burdens. As such, it may seem too good to be true! However, VirTra is proud to prove exactly what our simulators are capable of.

Watch below as a trainee engages in a property alarm situation. Note how the trainee engages in the simulator, uses real-life tools and how his actions influence how the situation ends:

Is the single-screen V-100 training simulator something your department can benefit from? Learn more by contacting a VirTra representative or watching more example videos on our website.

Before becoming a law enforcement officer, there are a few pathways students can take. Usually, they will study Criminal Justice in college before attending a police academy. Some students, however, begin their interest in a law enforcement career early enough and begin learning in high school. Career and technical education (CTE) programs have allowed high school students to take courses based on individual interests – including law enforcement.

Tom White of Taft Union High School in California understands the unique learning needs of high school-aged students and has combined that knowledge with the technology and efficiency of a VirTra simulator. Using a V-100® simulator, White’s students have improved their communication skills and better understand the split-second decision-making processes that officers go through on a day-to-day basis.

White was able to fund the V-100 through grant funds, assuring that there are grants available for CTE programs. Additionally, White is currently in the process of obtaining a grant for a V-DTS™ – VirTra’s Driver Training Simulator—to allow for further realism in training and expects to have the Driver Simulator in the next few months.

“You can’t take a student into the field at 16 or 17. Having the driver simulator allows me to simulate them in their own squad car and simulate a call going out on the radio” said White, whose goal is to have students operating the V-DTS when answering a call, then traveling to the destination. Then, students will step out of the V-DTS and enter the V-100 to “respond” to the situation.

Although the V-DTS is still in the purchasing process, simply using the V-100 has allowed White to see notable results and improvement in decision making skills and communication fluency. He has seen 25-30% of his students develop leadership qualities and the ability to confidently give direction. Being able to practice in a simulated environment that is both safe and realistic will allow young students to develop the proper mindsets and prepare themselves early on for a difficult but rewarding career in law enforcement.

When the time dedicated to training your team is limited, it can be easy to run the same few drills multiple time. Did you know there are a hundred ways to use your VirTra simulator to benefit your law enforcement or military training program? If your training format has become routine, here are a few ideas on how your team can incorporate a few fresh ideas to keep your team on their toes:

Training for error

When you are in the field, there is almost no chance to get into a perfect stance every time you have to fire your weapon. When training skills by inducing errors that have to be overcome, you can optimize your reaction and add a new level of difficulty for training safely on the VirTra simulator. The V-100® simulator offers a portable solution where you can easily add balance and stability trainers to help remove the stable mundane environment and have something new for trainees to learn. With new physical obstacles to overcome, you can add a new level of difficulty to your training environment that trainees can adapt to and master.

Add realistic props to create coverage

Whether you’re using the portable single screen V-100 or the fully immersive high fidelity V-300®, you can add simple accessories to help create the coverage you would be looking to find when conducting fieldwork. The addition of wood or 3D props in the training environment can also drive training points centered around topics like active shooter drills and other de-escalation scenarios. Keep in mind, if you’re going to go for that level of realism the props you introduce into the scenario must fit the situation. With props added to the scenarios, your team can have actual cover and concealment they can use tactically to work through the scenario in a realistic, 3D environment.

Explore more branching options

VirTra’s unique scenarios contain up to 85 different decision-making paths to possible resolutions. While most officers might like to get through training as quickly as possible, it can be useful to slow down and explore what happens when a curveball is thrown in the middle of a scenario. Especially if this is not the trainees first time through the simulator, exploring multiple branching options in the use of force or de-escalation training scenarios to see how the trainee reacts to the dialog within a scene can be a useful teaching moment. Testing their patients by exploring more dialog branches can hone their skills for de-escalation the person and teach communication skills. Those valuable teaching moments can turn into significant savings on possible litigation for the officer reacting too hasty under pressure.

Pair training with a Threat Fire®

VirTra’s one of a kind patented technology allows your team to get a sudden jolt when simulating return fire, bombs detonating, being run over, and more from the training scenario. More importantly, this shoot back device raises the stakes while in the simulation training which induces a physiological change in the trainee when zapped which influences their overall performance. In fact, the Threat-Fire was recently featured in a clinical study that showed that the use of the Threat-Fire improved performance of the trainees. By adding this tool to your training in the V-300 simulator, you can improve your team’s performance over other forms of training.

Build custom scenarios

While there are hundreds of options to pick from in the VirTra scenario library for any of our simulators, there is always room for improvement. If your team has specific geography that you want to train your team on or something creative you want to incorporate with a scenario, you can create scenarios with our V-Author® tool. This unique software allows you to go out and take panoramic photos of any local area you would like to set a scene up in and create your scenario to customize training in your VirTra V-180® or V-300 simulator. You can even film people to be in the scene so that the realism places like a farm or a mountain area feels more realistic with characters that would naturally be in that location.

Training with simulation training has shown to have a whole host of benefits from improved performance and increased situational awareness. However, to gain those benefits, trainers must keep making changes and improvements to their curriculum. By adding things like props and a stability training ball to help spice things up, your team can reengage with the scenarios in a new way. Another great way to enhance training is to take full advantage of the additional tools available with the VirTra simulators like the Threat-Fire and V-Author software to create your unique scenarios. These tips can help improve the number of people you can train. Your training with VirTra should also maximize the level of engagement to enhance learning and keep your community safe.

If you would like more info on how to improve your training with VirTra, click here to learn more.