APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Appleton Police Department is getting a new training tool for sworn Officers. “Virtual reality has been around for a while,” said Chief Todd Thomas of Appleton Police Department. Thomas joined Local 5 This Morning’s Community Update on Thursday to discuss the new tool. “For training in law enforcement, you use it a lot on range shooting,” said Thomas.
The Department is looking at software programs from Axon, a company that supplies body-worn cameras for Officers. “This next generation of virtual reality has really taken it to the next level,” said Thomas. The virtual reality training will only be about one-third of training for all sworn personnel. There will still be hands-on training incorporated in order to meet all Department requirements.
Lieutenant William Krieg is the training Lieutenant for the Department. “We’re going to be receiving four different headsets and inside of those headsets will basically immerse our Officers into any number of different scenarios,” said Krieg. An example scenario is when there is a call about an individual who is in the middle of a mental health crisis. The Officers would be placed in that scenario virtually, giving them a ‘real feel’ of the call. “Interactions with the public that would be nonviolent, where it’s us recognizing mental health concerns,” said Krieg.
In police work, training for sworn personnel is ongoing throughout their career. The latest training virtual reality tool is expected to be at the Department later in the Fall. Lt. Krieg says it is possible the new training could be used at an upcoming ‘Citizen’s Academy’ as a way for members of the community to get an inside look at police work. For more information on the Appleton Police Department click here.