A CLOSER LOOK: a de-escalation simulator may help police reduce the use of excessive force
ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — One law enforcement agency in Arkansas is investing in state-of-the-art technology to help de-escalate emergency situations. It is a use of force training simulator called VirTra.
Law enforcement in Arkansas, along with several agencies nationally, are responding to emergency calls where split-second decisions must be made in an effort to protect a person or an entire community.
Just this week in Arkansas, Hunter Britain, 17, was shot and killed by a Lonoke County Sheriff’s deputy. The Arkansas State Police (ASP) is leading the investigation.
In Fort Smith, an internal investigation is underway after purported excessive use of force on a teen, by a police officer, at an area shopping mall.
Soon, Bentonville may be the only law enforcement agency in the state to have the VirTra 300 Simulator. Funds for the item will be paid through a bond that was approved for a police training facility. “We are actively working with the company to lock down a firm price before putting the item on the city agenda,” said Bentonville Police Department Public Information Officer Adam McInnis. “I believe there are very few police departments in the country that have invested in this technology,” said McInnis.
As for the cost, McInnis explained that there are a few different build options, depending on how the simulator is set up, and this causes the price to vary. “I believe we will have the price in the coming weeks,” he said.
The Law Enforcement Training Facility would include
- A virtual de-escalation and judgmental use-of-force training simulator
- A live outdoor range (constructed on 20 acres of city-owned land near the Bentonville Armory)
- K9 training area
- Training building used to house range equipment
- Bomb Squad/Special Response Team Training Area, and other Specialty Training
VirTra 300 Simulator
According to its website, the law enforcement training device is the world’s first 300-degree reality-based situational training simulator. VirTra’s V-300® uses true-to-life situations from events and creates training points/lessons.
According to data from the Human Rights Defense Center (published in Prison Legal News), from January 1996 to January 2017, there have been 272 Arkansas police officer de-certifications — two have been listed as “excessive force.”