Fort Myers police develop de-escalation skills with virtual reality technology
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Fort Myers Police Department gave ABC7 an inside look at their new state-of-the-art training tool for officers: virtual reality simulations.
Lieutenant Jason Pate is a 26-year veteran police officer but he is continuing to learn.
The new technology helping him and his officers avoid using lethal force.
“They really get to develop de-escalation skills, de-escalation techniques,” said Lt. Pate. “It’s actually gaining someone’s trust. It’s actually taking the time to let them settle.”
Every element of a possible situation is customizable in the training scenarios.
“This is about as real as you can get without being there,” said Lt. Pate. “I can make it raining. I can make it sunny. I can make it foggy.”
Members of the Citizens Review Board got their chance to take a crack at the simulator.
“Hello Miss, how are you today,” said one member as he approached a suspect in a scenario.
They were given the chance to put themselves in uniform and try to de-escalate the situation. Each was given the decision of if and when they should pull the trigger.
FMPD is training all of its officers using the new technology.
ABC7’s Gage Goulding got the chance to jump into the simulation as well.
“What’s crazy though is the detail,” said Goulding. “The floor, I can see the reflection of the lights in the shooting range on the floor.”
The department has two of these virtual reality training simulators, all at no cost to members of the community.
“It didn’t cost the taxpayers anything, but they’re going to reap the benefits of getting better training for their police officers,” said Lt. Pate.
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