New police training tactics are coming to Gainesville

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Virtual reality might become a new training tactic that police officers can use.

A company named Axon wants to introduce new ways for police officers to prepare for real-life scenarios.

James Poss, an Axon employee, said the company wants to introduce virtual reality to police training.

“The end goal is to put officers through many types of scenarios, often to identify with a community. There are scenarios that involve certain types of autism, hearing issues and schizophrenia,” he said.

Axon is also introducing drones for on-scene scenarios to help police officers.

“Sometimes you may have a situation where officers request back up, and they didn’t need back up,” he said. “Sometimes officers will ask for backup and it is necessary, and the drone will give more of that point of view.”

Gainesville Police Department Lt. Renee Guyan, said this will help officers be more prepared.

“I think that you can really program the training to what you’re dealing with in real time. You make those adjustments to what you are seeing on the road and how things are changing in law enforcement. The person can review what they did as well so they can review themselves in that scenario as well. So I think it’s a great idea,” Guyan said.

Guyan has been a police officer for 21 years and witnessed the new strategies within trainings. When she began, the academy was largely inside a classroom.

“Now they are taking something they learned in the classroom and immediately going into a scenario and trying to work people through that, so I think exposing them to a scenario situation where they are interacting with people sooner will get them more comfortable in the long run,” Guyan said.

Gainesville police Lt. Steven Bradford explains how virtual reality can be more sufficient in preparing them for patrol.

“It’s cost effective, and it’s all computerized,” he said, “and we can use that information and get the statistics off of that and go back and review everything. So it’s definitely cost savings and innovation, and that’s the wave of the future.”

About Valentina Gomez

Valentina is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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