VR and law enforcement: A viable partnership?
Friday, February 09, 2018
Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are the buzzwords for nearly every industry today. Now, law enforcement agencies are looking to adopt these emerging technologies as well.
As many departments across the U.S. suffer from budget constraints and outdated technology, the criminals have access to the latest tools and tech. It is time for a change, and a new age of police training will incorporate these futuristic tools.
Agencies are looking at virtual reality for training their officers, and experts say VR has the potential to transform future law enforcement operations. As VR headsets have become more affordable, trainees can now leverage the power of video and simulations to train better.
Scenario-based training through VR has the potential to improve operational efficiency. These scenarios are designed to replicate real-life events that officers may encounter in the field. It prepares them for the unseen dangers lurking around them. Instead of textbook cases, they can train in near-lifelike experiences, which is more effective.
VR is all set to become a mainstream element in law enforcement training across the country. Simulations include real-world drills like an active shooter response. In the light of present-day events, the value of such training is undeniable.
The immersive nature of the training virtually transports an officer from the classroom or police station to the streets. Officers can put on a set of VR goggles and walk into a simulated hostage negotiation, a traffic stop or shoot-no-shoot scenarios. Other options include building-clearing exercises, a narcotic heist or a terrorist raid.
Trainees can also learn how to handle a situation with a mentally ill person. VR takes their learning a step forward. They will also experience what it's like to be suffering from a mental illness. That is a powerful training tool indeed. This could go a long way to mitigate the controversies surrounding such cases.
Some even think VR could be a powerful PR tool to strengthen police-community relations as well. When members of the public can virtually walk in a cop's shoes, they will see the real-life dangers and challenges officers face. The powerful technology will create the empathy that has been lacking toward our officers.
VR is also becoming an important tool for forensics and legal departments. Law enforcement officers are preparing to use VR to enhance crime scene investigations and crime scene training. It may soon become an intrinsic part of courtroom presentations. Along with computer imaging and machine learning, criminologists, juries and law enforcement agencies will use the VR crime scene robots to analyze crime, view the evidence and expedite criminal justice.
Crime-fighting is not always limited to the officers. That is why the Army and the Department of Homeland Security are creating a virtual school shooting simulator called EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment) for teachers.
Unfortunately, school shootings have become horrifyingly frequent. The simulator would prepare teachers to stay calm and try out different options to save students in the safest ways possible. It will train them to respond to an active shooter situation before law enforcement arrives on the scene.
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