Bucks County Police Officers Begin De-Escalation Training by Using Virtual Reality Technology

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A Bucks County police department is utilizing new technology as a way of training for new ways of enforcing the law in the area. Staff reporters from Fox 29 wrote about the new training methods.

The Central Bucks Regional Police Department is using virtual reality for de-escalation training. The department received a $159,037 federal grant to launch the program as the lead agency.

Its partners include Buckingham, Doylestown, and Plumstead Township police departments. The program used for the de-escalation training is Apex Officer, a virtual reality police training simulator.

The goal of the program is to reduce the intensity of encounters between police officers and the public during situations of high intensity.

“The scenarios are based on what [officers] do every day,” said Captain Robert Milligan, the master instructor of the program. “It’s real world, so that’s why we’re getting such positive feedback from the officers because this is something that they can use every single day that benefits them, that benefits our community, and any interaction we have.”

The simulator has scripts for real-life scenarios, such as a mental health crisis, suspicious person, domestic disturbance, or theft in progress.

During the simulation, trainers can choose a location and which character the officer is interacting with, including their behavior and potential weapons. The aim is to always reach a peaceful resolution.

Read more about the training at Fox 29.

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