New Training Simulation System at GRPD Makes for Service Improvements
Gila River Indian News
After years of use, The Gila River Police Department has seen countless benefits of their new training system, Virtra. Virtra is an innovative simulation training system for GRPD Police and Rangers. Virtra has numerous applications for local law enforcement and is used regularly by GRPD since acquiring the system.
Located in Tempe Ariz., Virtra provides a realistic approach to scenarios they may encounter while on patrol. In return, officers are better equipped to react in situations where deescalating the incident can make the difference in outcomes.
Ricardo Alvarado, GRPD Public Information Officer, said, “The goal of using Virtra is to provide the ability for officers to become better aware of their surroundings, interact with scenarios in real-time, practice de-escalation strategies and reduce the need for a ‘use of force’ encounter.’”
The Virtra system is both software and hardware and creates “real world” environments and scenarios for GRPD to train. The system has many officer benefits, such as improving marksmanship, practicing de-escalation strategies, and using verbal commands. Officers must use all tactics at their disposal in training while training officers program scenario outcomes.
Virtra technology provides an inclusive setting, that uses a 300-degree projector system. Moreover, officers and rangers enter armed with a gas blowback pistol. These pistols include a laser tracker so that every shot fired can be traced and will show whether the use of force was safe and if the officer hit the intended target.
Training officers observe and debrief after every scenario with officers to walk-thru their performance, provide critiques, and replay the scenario with officers to show where improvements are needed.
With this technology readily available, officers like GRPD Sergeant Perez understand the benefits of having the system in place. Sergeant Perez said, “I am proud that our community is moving towards an improved virtual direction for officer training.”
With such a local system in place, more officers can train effectively and minimize travel and time away from work at other facilities. Also, the Virtra allows for officers to prepare and test for required training certifications.