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Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office using virtual reality training

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has a new tool at its disposal to help train for the future.

The sheriff’s office is now using the Axon virtual reality simulator. With each scenario, law enforcement officers are able to practice de-escalation training techniques, crisis intervention skills and mental health encounters.

“We want to make mistakes in here, learn from them and redo them so we don’t make the same mistakes when it really does happen to us,” said Cpl. Steven Wallace of the department’s patrol division.

Wallace says using this innovative technology has the capability of expanding officers’ preparedness, empathy, tactical and coping skills.

“It is a game changer. We used to have a PowerPoint presentation and you would talk about signs and symptoms. To be able to take our VR system to put you into the role-play of what that person has experienced, we believe that we can change some of the stigmas and the biases that even our own deputies have,” Wallace said.

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said this training provides another tool for his officers to better help protect them and the public.

“This training complements the tools that we have on our belts, the tools that we carry on our chest, as far as the body cams, and the tools that we have in our vehicle,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham said this training can benefit law enforcement across the state.

“Whatever we have is open to all law enforcement because we don’t want nobody to have a unfortunate accident, or for anybody to have a reason to say they weren’t trained on this,” said Cunningham.

In addition to the Axon virtual reality simulator, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has added new body camera and unit cameras. The sheriff’s office has also been able to upgrade its VirTra VR training.

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