Published on May 23rd, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Chicago Police Turn to Virtual Reality Technology to Train Officers in How to Deal with the Mentally Ill
Virtual reality can create environments that would be nearly impossible to stage in real life. Jeremy Gorner reports in the Chicago Tribune how Chicago Police are turning to VR to train officers on how to deal with situations involving the mentally ill. Yes, this could be done with role playing or other traditional methods of training but VR elevates the experience to an emotional level unlike any other training. Law enforcement gets to deal with their emotions as well as their knowledge.
Photo above: Axon’s new autism empathy VR training allows trainees to be fully immersed in the scene from both the officer’s perspective, and the perspective of the person in crisis. (Axon)
Virtual reality technology will be used to help in training Chicago police officers on how to deal with people experiencing mental health episodes.
The pilot program will be folded into the department’s crisis intervention training that became mandatory for officers as part of the federal consent decree aimed at overhauling how the city’s historically troubled Police Department operates.
This marks the latest example of the department turning to technology to aid in its crime-fighting and officer-training efforts.
Developed by Axon, the company that has also provided the department with its body-worn cameras, the virtual reality technology allows its users to view computer-simulated scenarios through special headgear.
The training covers how officers should react to people with schizophrenia or autism.
Questions shown in small boxes on a screen are posed for officers on how to handle particular situations: Do they tell the person to drop their knife or calmly ask if he wants to just talk? Officers pick the appropriate boxes by making eye contact.