GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – “Going virtual” is a term that we’ve used a lot lately, and nearly every company, agency, and school has incorporated virtual as a means to keep things moving. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has introduced virtual reality into its nursing program. “We started looking at virtual options last March and April when COVID really hit and everything had to shut down,” says Simulation Coordinator Mitch Luker.
A $2.5M grant from the Department of Education is helping make this new technology possible. “We really find the value in it, as we are facing a few different issues being the COVID pandemic,” explains Luker. The pandemic affected medical facilities and the clinical portion of the nursing program. “The problem becomes losing our clinical sites because our hospitals and long-term care facilities weren’t able to let us come,” Luker adds.
The Green Bay Police Department incorporated virtual reality into their training program for sworn personnel a while ago, provided through Axon. It is a de-escalation scenario tool. “It’s more advanced and interactive in the sense that the trainer has an idea of what’s going on and gives the trainer the idea or the option to intervene/modify the scenario,” explains Lieutenant Rick Belanger.
Local Departments like Green Bay are looking to expand and update their training programs to adjust to the current climate of the areas they serve. Axon, which provides virtual reality and body-worn cameras, is reportedly in the process of upgrading the Green Bay software. “One of the biggest things in my career is de-escalation. You take the mental health component and the ability for an Officer to show up to the scene,” says Belanger.