During and after the pandemic, people became much more aware of how many disease can spread. Mitigating the spread of disease as a first responder goes beyond just COVID-19. Officers are in close contact with many people, and any of them could – knowingly or unknowingly – have an infectious disease.

Understanding the diseases and sicknesses that are at the highest risk for law enforcement officers to obtain is the start. Officers also benefit from understanding how diseases can spread and what the signs and symptoms are.

VirTra’s “Infectious Diseases” course provides 4 hours of material for officers to learn from. There are also 3 associated scenarios to help officers practice interactions.

 

Common Diseases and Infections

Disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Viral infections are a common way for first responders to become sick due to contact with the public. HIV, tuberculosis, COVID-19, hepatitis, and the common cold are some examples of viruses obtained through direct or indirect contact.

To become infected with a virus/bacteria, typically one of the following contacts have occurred:

  • Exposed to the saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected person. This can happen when the person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks loudly in close proximity. Tuberculosis and COVID-19 may spread in this manner.
  • Contact with the blood, urine, or excrement of an infected person. This occurs when a person encounters an unclean environment that contains traces of the listed substances. It can also happen if pricked with a needle used by a person with the disease or if these substances come in contact with an open wound. Hepatitis and HIV may be spread this way.
  • Contact with an animal carrying the virus. A scratch or bite that exposes you to the saliva can transfer a viral infection. Rabies is a virus spread in this manner. Animal excrement may also carry disease.
  • Consuming contaminated food may lead to both viral or bacterial diseases. E. coli and some Hepatitis variants may be obtained through contaminated or expired food.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. Some organisms may even linger on objects that were handled by someone with a virus. This is why it is important to take reasonable precautions if there is a risk of becoming ill.

 

Preventing the Spread of Diseases

While it is not always foolproof, there are several ways to greatly mitigate the spread of disease. Decreasing the risk of infection can be as simple as washing your hands or avoiding touching your nose and mouth.

Washing your hands frequently – not just when you believe you have touched a sick person – is important. If you unconsciously touch your face with unclean hands or eat without washing them, you could pick up an organism. Make sure your hands are either thoroughly washed with soap, or that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Using personal protective equipment (PPE) may be necessary to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne particles. Gloves, face masks, and eye protection are some examples of PPE that can be used on the field if needed. N-95-rated masks may be required for specific organisms to be effective.

It is also recommended that you stay home if you feel ill. You may have a weak immune system and expose yourself to other viruses, plus you may spread a virus to other colleagues. If you are predisposed to infection or have a weakened immune system, taking more precautions helps you better prepare for possible exposure to germs.

 

VirTra’s Infectious Diseases Simulated Scenarios

Our V-VICTA® course, Infectious Diseases, allows not only for classroom learning, but for real world practice. Some scenarios deal with an individual coughing, letting the officer decide how to handle the situation while protecting themselves. Another deals with irate people who do not wish to comply with a business’ PPE rules.

The scenarios help supplement the learning of this important topic. The course comes with an entire manual containing instructor guides, note taking materials, tests, scoring rubrics, and more. Even better? When the course is completed, students receive a certificate of completion and earn NCP credit.

If you are interested in VirTra’s coursework and want to learn how to incorporate it into your agency’s training regime, contact a specialist.

There’s no such thing as a professional bystander. You can’t consider yourself a “professional” if you aren’t going to take action when you see something wrong being done by a co-worker. In law enforcement, your failure to intervene could result in discipline, losing your job, being sued civilly or even being charged criminally.

Not only can this affect the individual officer, but it also has a direct effect on the public perception of law enforcement as a whole. These types of incidents thrusts law enforcement into the national spotlight. A spotlight that has played a role in American’s confidence in law enforcement dropping to 48%.

What does it mean to fail to intervene? In a nutshell, it means that an officer who purposefully allows a fellow officer to violate a person’s Constitutional rights may be prosecuted for failure to intervene to stop the Constitutional violation. (Department of Justice, n.d.)

The next question you might have is, “Who does this apply to?” When it comes to an officer’s duty to intervene, courts have stated that it applies to EVERY officer of EVERY rank, including all levels of command staff. (Putman v. Gerloff, 1981). The duty to intervene even carries across situations that might involve officers from different agencies working together.

Courts recognize that not all situations can be stopped by an intervening officer. For example, an officer that runs up to a suspect and punches them before you even had time to realize what was happening. In cases like this, courts recognize that an officer does not always have an opportunity to stop the other person’s action. While you may not be able to stop the action when it occurs, you still must follow through with reporting the unconstitutional act in an appropriate and timely manner.

Failing to take action is only half of this discussion. The other half must deal with HOW you should take action. Many officers have never been exposed to this type of training, so they are unsure on what their options are, as well as what their obligations might be.

But don’t worry, VirTra has you covered!

In our upcoming V-VICTA® curriculum, “Duty to Intervene: No Such Thing as a Professional Bystander,” we will give your agency all the tools needed to work through or even avoid a circumstance where officers need to intervene.

You will learn how having the correct policies in place can help avoid these types of situations. It also discusses the types of training officers should stay up to date on, as well as best practices that have worked in other agencies.

Included with the curriculum is a set of custom-made videos for students and instructors to watch and discuss how they would handle what occurred in the videos. There will also be brand new scenarios that were designed around the duty to intervene training. The new scenarios include a vehicle contact, a suspicious person, and a large-scale protest. The entire course can be done within your VirTra simulator and can provide your officers with 2 hours of IADLEST certified training.

Stay Safe. Stay Dedicated.

 

References

 

When training your officers, it is a priority to ensure that they receive quality de-escalation training with a curriculum that contains applicable and reliable knowledge. Creating your own curriculum is a process – it takes time, it takes money and both of those are valuable things that you would like to save! On the other hand, when looking at purchasing a curriculum, there is a chance that some courses may have not gone through a certification process that meets State and POST requirements for de-escalation training.

With all these factors to consider, you may be wondering what the right answer is. That is where VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum comes in. Our curriculum mitigates 60+ hours of research, prep and approvals of instructor man hours per one hour of finished curriculum. It also maximizes training session time for optimal learning and retention.

 

Training Certification

On top of those benefits, VirTra puts our V-VICTA courses through a rigorous approval process with IADLEST. IADLEST offers the National Certification Program (NCP) of which sets a high standard in providing quality education for law enforcement nationwide. This means that all of our courses are equipped with extensive training materials for your team to work through.

NCP certified courses are also accepted by all participating POST organizations providing a trustworthy, time and cost-effective way for your officers to earn their de-escalation training certifications.

VirTra is also the only simulator company that provides a certified curriculum for law enforcement, which is free when included with our training simulators.

 

Bring Your Training to Life

In our training simulators, officers can put their de-escalation certifications to practice with intensive training scenarios. Our professionally-produced scenarios include real actors simulating real-world situations. Most of the scenarios contain on average over 85 different branching options based on the officer’s actions. In the scenarios, trainees must use quick decision-making skills to de-escalate the situation to the best of their ability.

The additional scenario training adds immense value to the curriculum by allowing officers to test their classroom knowledge in a stress-inducing environment, preparing them for the real-world.

 

Online Training Courses

If your department does not have the current means for a VirTra simulator but still wants to experience our V-VICTA curriculum, you have another option!

VirTra partnered with other industry-leading partners to develop Certified Training Alliance (CTA). CTA is an online learning platform with certified law enforcement training courses that officers can train through at their own pace, wherever they want! Including certified courses generated from our V-VICTA curricula such as Autism Awareness, Crisis De-escalation, 10 different Mental Illness courses, and more.

You may also find courses from Force Science and Tony Blauer. It’s FREE to sign up and browse the courses online.

Click here to sign up for Certified Training Alliance!

…and if you want to learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA curriculum, contact a VirTra specialist today!

Just as police officers go through intensive training on skills such as firearm manipulation and de-escalation, peace officers must also. Though the positions of certain peace officers may look different than a police officer, they still are protecting the public, enforcing the law and, depending on their position, carrying firearms.

Whether a state trooper, detention officer, border patrol, or even game warden, proper peace officer training is crucial in keeping communities safe and getting people home safely.

VirTra’s training systems provide various scenarios and curriculums to educate and train those who keep us safe.

De-Escalation Tactics

When protecting the public, there is always the possibility that peace officers will face a situation where they need to use quick decision-making, situational awareness, and other important skills that VirTra training simulators put to the test.

VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum contains various de-escalation scenarios dealing with mental illness, emotionally disturbed people, autism awareness, and more that officers may come in contact with when working. Our curriculum provides 60 hours of nationally certified coursework including PowerPoints, manuals, pre-tests and post-tests. Instructors have all the necessary tools to instill proper training and knowledge transfer to its students.

With different branching options for every scenario, officers can explore different ways that their decisions affect people and themselves. With this, they can learn from both their mistakes and successes.

Firearm Training

It is necessary for all peace officers to properly train with their firearms in the case that they will need to utilize it on a call. VirTra provides an array of firearms training for peace officers to hone in on their skills.

This peace officer training might include marksmanship, weapon transitions, and even gauging the right times for them to draw their firearm. VirTra’s firearm training is the most accurate in the industry. It even includes structured scenario debriefs for trainers and officers to analyze their skills.

The curriculum also includes training scenarios including active shooter, tourniquet application and even more that officers might experience.

We Are Here to Help!

Our curriculum and simulators are an effective and educational addition to any peace officer training. Those who protect us deserve great training that is proven to work and VirTra is just that.

To learn more about the V-VICTA® curriculum and our simulators, contact a VirTra specialist.

 

You’re on an active shooter case and your partner has taken a shot to the leg. The shooter is not yet contained and you have to handle this situation as quickly, but carefully, as possible. Your partner is in need of a tourniquet but you have to keep your guard up and keep your eye out for the threat all at the same time.

Remaining focused and staying calm is key in this situation because incorrectly applying a tourniquet could potentially make the bleeding worse. In some cases, you may have a third officer there to guard your back, other times you may need to call for back-up. Being able to quickly assess the situation and then find the solution are the most important parts in assuring the safety of everyone involved, including yourself.

Training That Saves

It goes without saying that officers can’t be expected to walk onto a live scene knowing exactly how to respond without being trained. For example, in a case like this, tourniquet application under threat is extremely valuable knowledge for officers. That is where our scenario-based training comes into play.

In order to practice correct application along with situational awareness, VirTra created the Tourniquet Application Under Threat training under our V-VICTA® curriculum.

The scenarios for this topic include teaching officers how to apply a tourniquet on themselves in some cases and someone else in others, while simultaneously protecting everybody from the threat. It also educates officers on the different types of tourniquets (R.A.T.S, C-A-T, and SOF-T) and even covers ways to reduce blood loss in the moment.

Officers are able to fully immerse into our tourniquet application scenarios as if the scene described above was actually happening to them. They also are able to explore the different branching options and see the results of the different actions that they take. This helps them learn exactly what to or what not to do in that situation.

VirTra’s Commitment

We are committed to helping officers get home safely every day and we developed our immersive law enforcement scenarios in order to play our part in making that happen. Our tourniquet application scenario is just one of many that we have created to help officers in their training.

Including our curriculum into your department’s training regimens would help ensure that your officers show up ready for anything and are fully equipped with all of the knowledge they need to keep your community and themselves safe.

To hear more about the training we offer, contact a VirTra specialist.

Behavioral health training is very broad, yet the topics are specific. Behavioral health and mental illness cover a critical range of topics, diagnoses and states of mind that every officer must be familiar with. 

What comes to mind when you hear “behavioral health” or “mental illness”? Often, people think of extremes, such as suicide or schizophrenia. The term “behavioral health” includes depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD—illnesses officers are more likely to encounter in the field. 

Knowing that behavioral health’s range covers illnesses that are more commonplace in addition to those rarer, it is easy to see how 1 in 5 American adults currently live with a behavioral health issue. Officers may encounter those with a mental illness at any time, so they must know how to recognize the various signs and the proper ways of connecting. 

To make training on this expansive topic easy, VirTra created “Mental Illness Training: A Practical Approach”, a nationally-certified course that teaches officers how to recognize and interact with these subjects. This V-VICTA® curriculum includes 15 certified training hours through ten lessons, along with corresponding presentations, tests, realistic video scenarios and more for well-rounded training. 

The topics covered in this 15-hour course include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Suicide
  • Schizophrenia
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Dementia
  • Crisis De-Escalation
  • Substance Use

Departments are encouraged to teach this topic more in-depth. It is not heavily taught nationwide, despite every community having members with a mental illness. Start improving community safety, officer knowledge and help for all. Learn more about this training and how to implement it into your regimen by contacting a VirTra representative. 

Imagine yourself in a rapidly evolving situation with an irate subject. You only have a limited time to properly take control of the situation by de-escalating or using the appropriate level of force. One mistake can cost lives – your own and others. Experienced officers have learned to navigate difficult situations under stress, but can always benefit from refresh courses. Trainees and new recruits need hundreds of learning opportunities to develop these crucial skills.

In order to learn and practice the skills needed, law enforcement officers must practice in a similar circumstance. In our case, a realistic, stress-inducing environment. Trainees also benefit from learning in classroom settings in order to learn the foundation and the basics of actions. VirTra combines both the realistic environment with nationally-certified classroom training in a revolutionary program called V-VICTA®—Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy.

The Whole Training Package

V-VICTA is designed to teach, train, test and sustain both trainees and officers in a variety of critical, life-saving skills. Instructors receive an entire training package for each course—slide presentations, lesson plans, tests, corresponding simulated scenarios and more. This allows instructors to teach the concept in the classroom, then immediately train the skill in the simulator. Best of all, V-VICTA curricula comes free with all law enforcement simulators, simultaneously easing the financial burden on departments while providing high-quality modern training.

From Autism Awareness to Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment, VirTra ensures every course has ample information provided by in-house subject matter experts, partners and other industry experts. In addition to simulation science, our partners also provide us with new information, studies and insights—such as our partnership with SARRC for our Autism curriculum—which in turn is passed on to our clients and their officers.

National Certification Saves Time and Money

Think of all the steps you have to take to create curriculum, let alone have it certified. You have to write lesson plans, research topics and have the course reviewed to ensure clarity. If you want to nationally certify it, you have to submit it for review and make necessary corrections in order for it to meet training standards. All of this takes time and requires spending.

Many training simulation companies would stop at simply creating it, but VirTra does the work of certifying the coursework for agencies, alleviating some pressure. All V-VICTA courses are nationally-certified through the IADLEST National Certification Program™ for POST Certification, which sets the national training standards for curriculum certification across 36 states. To ensure only the highest quality training receives this certification, each course is critically reviewed by IADLEST members and must then pass the rigors of their independent review process.

With all V-VICTA materials bearing the NCP seal, instructors know they are receiving quality training materials, thus saving time and money from creating their own coursework. In fact, as of May 2022, VirTra offers 82.75 hours of V-VICTA training. Because 1 hour of curriculum takes an average of 50 hours of research, preparation and approvals, VirTra’s offering of 82.75 hours of training saves departments roughly 5,378.75 man-hours. Imagine how much more can be accomplished as an instructor when you save more than 5,000 hours! Because these curricula are both POST approved and nationally-certified, departments automatically receive training hours whenever the curriculum is taught. Officers who complete the training are awarded with an official certificate.

In addition to saving departments time from creating the training materials, V-VICTA further saves time through the curriculum’s structure. All modules can be broken into 15–30-minute intervals for optimal roll call learning, or if one’s schedule allows for quick periods of training. This method known as “interleaved/interwoven training” ensures officers receive quality training without sacrificing extensive periods of time.

A Glimpse at V-VICTA

One of our recent curricula is our Special Populations: Autism Awareness training. In 2021, the CDC has discovered that 1 in 44 children has been diagnosed with autism, making this training critical for all officers, as they are likely to eventually encounter someone on the spectrum. Those with autism may have difficulty communicating and exhibit repetitive behavior and/or speech patterns, so officers must know how to properly recognize the signs and interact.

To first educate officers, the Autism Awareness curriculum provides instructors with a lesson plan and presentation that teaches some of the more common signs of autism, including: avoiding eye contact, hand flapping, rocking back and forth, resistance to control, etc. This is paired with a training scenario featuring SARRC CEO Daniel Openden, who goes into further detail. After gaining this understanding, officers are able to practice their skills with the corresponding scenarios. Actual adults with autism are featured in the scenarios to provide police the chance to see real-life examples of autistic behaviors.

In creating these materials, several VirTra clients participated in review and early beta testing of both the curriculum materials and scenarios. After months of research, hard work, testing, filming and certification, Autism Awareness was ready to be used on VirTra’s simulators. Now, dozens of agencies around the United States are using scenarios that can assist them in recognizing the signs of autism.

Besides Autism Awareness, other available courses include the following (with more to come):

Future courses that are in development and set to be released to VirTra’s law enforcement clients include duty to intervene, infectious diseases and deaf/hard of hearing.

Getting Started

Getting started with using V-VICTA is easy. All current VirTra clients have access to the materials. New courses that come out are installed on annual service trips, ensuring that agencies don’t miss out on any coursework as it launches. VirTra has simplified the process so that all you need to do is access the files, review the materials and then teach your class.

Training is a critical component for law enforcement, but the quality of the training is just as important. With lives on the line, and the dangerous atmosphere that comes with the job, instructors must train their officers to the highest level of preparedness. V-VICTA serves as one of the best and easiest resources, with no hassle, as it comes free with all law enforcement simulators. Start training your officers in the most modern, powerful, stress-inoculating simulators on the market. Talk to a VirTra representative to get started.

 

Article originally published by Officer.com

No doubt about it: law enforcement is no easy job. Between the critical media, community issues and societal wariness of officers, there is a lot of pressure. Yet, even in this tumultuous time, these brave men and women still step up and choose to protect and serve their communities. For that, we are ever grateful. 

To help officers prepare for this job—specifically gain skills and confidence for the job—VirTra offers law enforcement training simulators with corresponding nationally-certified curriculum. After all, the best way for an officer to gain confidence is to know for a fact that they are trained to the highest level of preparedness.  

Increasing Officer Confidence 

One of the most critical components of training is the quality of the content. SMEs who understand the field and its unique challenges create each scenario and curriculum. Scenarios are then filmed with professional actors and high-quality equipment. Keeping scenarios video-based helps trainees react accordingly to subtle visual cues such as facial expressions.

In addition to the physical fidelity created by the high-resolution, real-life video scenarios, each scenario is equipped with extensive branching options. This creates psychological fidelity, as the scenario unfolds based on the officer’s actions or instructor’s preference. By utilizing this training style, it is easier for officers’ skills to be transferred to the field.

Increasing Instructor Confidence 

The need for officers to succeed can result in pressure on instructors, as it is their job to ensure officers are prepared to handle any call. To help, VirTra created the V-VICTA® program—Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy—which is comprised of nationally-certified training curriculum. VirTra works with nationally-recognized partnerships to develop each course.

It is simpler than you might think. Instructors begin by teaching the curriculum in the classroom, utilizing the slide presentation and handbooks provided. Trainees then practice these skills in a simulated scenario. Each curriculum receives the IADLEST National Certification Program™ for POST Certification, ensuring your officers only train with the best materials. 

Another way to increase instructor confidence is to increase their knowledge about simulation training. VirTra offers a 40-hour train-the-trainer course which covers best practices and concepts on training effectively and maximizing time in our simulators. Understanding the best simulation training methods results in better training which results in better-prepared officers. Instructors who complete the course will receive an Advanced VirTra Operator certification. 

To start increasing officer and instructor confidence through better training, contact a VirTra training specialist. 

Imagine you are training in an immersive law enforcement simulator. The screens darken, then light up with a desert scene as the dispatch relays information on the call you are responding to. Pedestrians give you further information about the event, then point you towards a man sitting on a ledge. It becomes clear: this is a suicide call and you need to carefully persuade the man to seek help, not jump. 

This is a difficult situation, but a necessary one to train for, as any officer can be called to prevent suicide. But as important as the training topic is, the method of training is just as important. For officers who train with VirTra’s systems, the scenario will unfold based on the officer’s actions and words, creating real-life training designed to benefit both officers and their communities. Officers can train in the same scenario multiple times, trying new de-escalation tactics or certain phrases, then see how the situation plays out. Does an action cause the man to comply, lash out or jump? Which verbiage best comes into play here? Instructors watch over the trainees and, depending on the officer’s choices, they choose the applicable branch in the situation and thus create a new ending. 

Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy 

The simulator itself is an incredible training tool, but what about combining the classroom and the simulator? VirTra created the V-VICTA® program, which is a series of nationally-certified curriculum that is first taught in the classroom then practiced in the simulator. This all-in-one training solution instills proper training and knowledge transfer, thus helping officers remember their training in the field and utilize it to help those around them. 

For example, one V-VICTA curriculum is “Autism Awareness.” This material teaches officers how to identify possible autistic behaviors and the best ways to interact with the subject. Officers who aren’t taught how to recognize and react accordingly to these behaviors could put the subject or themselves at risk. And, according to data from the CDC, 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism, making it extremely likely that every field officer will interact with someone on the spectrum. To improve safety for officers and every member of their community, they must first know how to best interact with every member of the community.  

Officer training is complex, but it is always centered around safety—for subjects, bystanders, partners and oneself. To learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA training curriculum, or to try a training simulator at an upcoming trade show, contact a VirTra specialist.

How do you transition your officers from traditional iron sights to a pistol-mounted red dot optic? There are plenty of good training ideas—such as increased practice on the range, lectures on how the optic works, etc.—but one of the best is having your officers engage in an extensive training course.

One such course is VirTra’s nationally-certified course “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment.” This new curriculum has 21 accompanying training drills and was created in conjunction with Victory First® utilizing Aimpoint® red dot optics. Just as it sounds, this course is designed to help officers successfully transition from the traditional iron sights to a modern pistol-mounted red dot optic.

How it Works

Red Dot is one of VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum, and thus, follows the same structure. With this curriculum, instructors receive lecture materials, presentations, handbooks, range drills and more to teach, train, test and sustain their officers on the given material. This starts in the classroom, then leads to extensive red dot optic training either in the simulator or on the range.

Since training a new skill requires extensive practice, the Red Dot Optic course includes 21 detailed drills; everything from how many yards out the target is, time limits, rounds and repetitions, etc. VirTra includes this information so instructors can either practice it on their real-life training simulators, or on the range.

After the Course

Obviously, the point of any course is to familiarize officers with the taught skill—in this case, utilizing the pistol-mounted red dot optic—but VirTra’s courses go a few steps further. After the course is completed, officers should be able to identify advantages and disadvantages of the red dot system, identify the importance of target and threat focus instead of the focus on the front sight, and more.

To continue learning about VirTra’s “Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment” curriculum and how officers benefit from this training, please contact a VirTra specialist.