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Palm Beach police use simulator to train for more than real-life 250 scenarios

Scenarios include ambushes, active shooters, and mental health emergencies
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 17:29:10-04

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach Police and Fire Foundation has invested $300,000 to enhance officer training in "use of force" scenarios.

The police department is using simulator technology that can put officers through more than 250 scenarios and outcomes.

The VirTra Simulator allows instructors to show officers how the outcomes of each call changes based on their decisions.

"What the chief wanted for over two years was to bring in a system that we could train our officers in a response to resistance and bring real-life scenarios to those officers to help train them to better respond out on the street," said Michael Ogrodnick, the Training and Community Relations Coordinator for the Palm Beach Police Department.

Palm Beach police and Fire Foundation worked together to bring the technology to officers including ambushes, active shooters, and even the response to mental health challenges.

"When the person that was affected with autism said, hey, the lights are bothering me. Did you hear that? Did you turn off the lights to your car so you could engage them and appropriately help them?" Ogrodnick said.

Ogrodnick said an instructor can heighten the scenario depending on the officer's actions and also immediately notify the officer if there's something they are missing.

The Palm Beach Police and Fire Foundation President John Scarpa said the simulator will also tie together training with Fire Rescue in the future.

"Obviously, I am very pro police and pro fire and I worry about all of them and their families every day, so this type of training, what were providing to them, is so essential," said Scarpa.

Palm Beach police said that depending on call volume and special events, they hope to run officers through simulator training every week.