TUPD officers use high-tech simulator to practice de-escalation tactics

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Troy University Police Department (TUPD) officers are getting to practice de-escalation tactics without ever stepping foot on campus.

TUPD has brought in a new interactive simulator for law enforcement trainees. The new simulator was created by the company VirTra and features up to 500 scenarios for trainees to use.

“It gives us an opportunity to bring officers in and train them in scenarios that some revolve around shooting,” said TUPD Chief George Beaudry. “Some revolve around not shooting, some revolve around suicidal subjects, some revolve around individuals in mental health crises.”

One topic that has become prevalent is school safety. The VirTra simulator features a simulation of an active shooting on a school campus. Beaudry says that simulation will give trainees a look into how dangerous situations can be in real life.

“It does give these officers an opportunity to kind of go into it and react. They’re carrying real firearms. They’re carrying real tasers. They’re carrying real pepper spray. They have lethal options and less-lethal options. All of those weapons interact with the simulator system.”

According to Beaudry, the simulator also utilizes a green screen that TUPD can use to take panoramic pictures of Troy University’s campus and local areas. Those pictures can then be uploaded to the simulator.

“It kind of hits home to to our local officers when they respond and the first time they get to this call they’re going to notice that’s our building. Basically we can provide that localized feel with the same type of training.”

The first group of officers to use the simulator will later train future officers. TUPD also plans to allow Pike County Sheriff (PCSO) Deputies, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) officers, members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and criminal justice students to use the simulator.