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North Charleston Police test new de-escalation training simulator

Police Chief Reggie Burgess and Council members Ron Brinson, Jerome Heyward and Rhonda Jerome...
Police Chief Reggie Burgess and Council members Ron Brinson, Jerome Heyward and Rhonda Jerome attended the demonstration of a police training simulator.(North Charleston Police)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 2:34 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Members of the North Charleston Police Department and City Council got a first-hand look at a new police simulator.

The VirTra simulator is used to train officers on de-escalating situations and proper use-of-force techniques, police spokesman Harve Jacobs said.

Police Chief Reggie Burgess and Councilmembers Ron Brinson, Jerome Heyward and Rhonda Jerome also attended the demonstration.

The VirTra website says it combines virtual reality training simulators with a nationally certified curriculum.

The simulators use a variety of training scenarios including active threats, ambush situations, courtroom security, domestic violence and hostage situations. The system also includes scenarios officers might face when encountering people with mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia or suicidal ideation, the site states.

Councilmember Rhonda Jerome said city council pursued the purchase of a simulator for the police department for many years.

“Our thought process was to allow members of our communities to come in and put themselves in the shoes of a police officer,” she said. “Let the citizens see the split-second decisions our officers have to make. Our hope is that respect for our officers and our citizens would strengthen.”

She said police officers’ training sessions are recorded, which would allow for further training, something she considers a “win-win” for the citizens of North Charleston, police and the city as a whole.

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