Police Department Tries Out Virtual Reality De-Escalation Training

Route Fifty: The video footage appears from the perspective of a police officer as he taps on the window of a parked car and asks to see the driver’s identification. As the man hands it over, the police officer’s partner suddenly draws his gun and points it into the car.

The first officer now faces an array of choices. Should he tell the man in the car to remain calm? Use his radio to call for backup? Or tell his partner to put away his gun? Each choice has consequences for the escalation, or de-escalation, of the situation—but they’re not life-or-death decisions, and do-overs are allowed. Because the video isn’t body-camera footage—it’s a virtual-reality simulation.

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