The Stafford County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office installed a VirTra V-300 use of force simulator several months ago. First Sergeant Joe Bice, who heads the department’s training program, states the technology is already making a big difference. It was the department’s first venture into advanced simulators, and First Sergeant Bice says the V-300 has helped him and his agency in many ways.
Stafford County previously had limited exposure to a single screen simulator at a nearby regional police academy. The advanced capabilities of the V-300 really impress him and his fellow deputies. According to First Sergeant Bice, VirTra’s unique mix of live action and simulation provides realistic scenarios that get trainees moving in the simulator. Trainees learn to take better tactical positions to engage subjects versus static range training. He also said that the V-300’s playback feature allows him to show improper shooting positions to trainees during debriefings and trains them to adjust appropriately. The V-300 has also helped deputies to communicate more clearly with each other in cover and contact situations, thus improving officer safety.
First Sergeant Bice also noticed that some deputies were missing moving targets, and that less-experienced deputies could develop “tunnel vision” in scenarios. Training in the V-300 allowed him to tackle these potentially life-threatening issues head-on and reduce risk for deputies and the agency. Stafford County’s SWAT team uses the V-300 to hone split-second decision making in breach and close quarters room clearing scenarios. The agency’s new recruits are thrown into V-300 scenarios before they even begin their academy training. First Sergeant Bice uses scenarios to train recruits on proper technique such as holster drills. Their V-300 is equipped with Threat-Fire, which First Sergeant Bice says adds consequences and stress to help trainees take the training more seriously. Stafford County also has VirTra’s V-Author, which has been utilized to develop scenarios based in familiar settings to Stafford Deputies.
Increased Efficiencies, Reduced Costs
Like many other law enforcement agencies, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office previously had to use overtime to keep officers current on their firearms training certifications because there was no on-site training system. Now, First Sergeant Bice is using the V-300 as part of the department’s roll calls, which will reduce overtime costs and make training more efficient.
“All our training had been done on overtime. Now that we have the VirTra system, I can grab two or four officers and have them train in the V-300 during their shift,” says First Sergeant Bice.
The department had been looking at building a live-fire house at their outdoor firing range, but code compliance costs made that option prohibitively expensive. Purchasing VirTra technology was a tremendous cost-savings for the department. The V-300 has been implemented into the department’s annual use of force training, and it also helped lessen reliance on using the outdoor range, where officers can experience freezing temperatures that can make training less effective during winter months.
First Sergeant Bice is eager to do more with their V-300 in 2018. The department will begin implementing the V-300 into Axon® TASER® training this year. First Sergeant Bice would also like to use training in the V-300 to help officers become more descriptive and detailed in report writing.
“It’s not a one-time training tool – the opportunities are limitless,” said First Sergeant Bice.