PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Central Illinois police agencies are now using virtual reality training to hone their skills in de-escalation.
Tuesday morning, the Central Illinois Police Training Center at Illinois Central College (ICC) introduced officers from multiple agencies to the Apex Officer Virtual Reality System. Officers put on goggles, a headset, and a backpack. Then, much like a video game, the cops are placed into a virtual situation as if its real life.
Director of Central Illinois Police Training Center Brian Fengel said the goal of the equipment it to prepare new officers how to respond in difficult situations.
“The use of force, de-escalation, crisis intervention, mental health awareness; there’s numerous ones that we’re constantly training on each year, or every three years. We’re trying to give them the tools to be able to do that,” Fengel said.
Fengel said the gear is portable, and departments with smaller budgets can benefit from the training center’s recent purchase.
“Some agencies have not big budgets and they can’t afford to do all the training that bigger agencies do. We’re trying to accommodate all the agencies, and this will help smaller agencies check this out and use it within their department,” Fengel said.
The training center serves eight counties and 93 different law enforcement agencies.