Saturday, July 13, 2024

Wilmington considers $50,000 annual lease for ‘use of force’ police training simulator

The VirTra V-300 will help WPD officers train for high-pressure situations without ever putting lives in danger (Port City Daily/Courtesy VirTra)

WILMINGTON — Training for emergency situations is a difficult task, but it might be a little bit easier thanks to technology the city is looking to provide for the Wilmington Police Department.

The VirTra V-300 Use of Force Simulator consists of several screens and allows police officers the opportunity to train in a number of different situations.

According to the upcoming City Council agenda, “WPD personnel have researched and found that the VirTra V-300 Use of Force Simulator will provide our officers access to one of the best judgmental use of force training simulators available. This advanced 300-degree use-of-force simulator will immerse our officers in various scenarios that are difficult real-world situations. Some of the scenarios include ambushes, active shooters, service calls, traffic stops, and other situations that officers throughout the nation are faced with on a daily basis.”

While city documents refer to the technology as a “use of force simulator,” the V-300 offers plenty of options for training including de-escalation and Taser situations.

“The VirTra V-300 system requires officers to maintain full situational awareness during extreme stress, which makes it an excellent training device. In addition to officer presence and situational awareness, communication skills training, de-escalation, Taser, and deadly force situations are all available for simulation using standard-issue law enforcement tools. Further, this simulator will be used during citizen police academy classes to allow citizens to experience the challenges our officers face,” according to the agenda.

Below: Product video for the VirTra 300 training simulator. 

But new technology isn’t cheap: City Council is being asked to approve a contract to lease the simulator for five years for its new police and fire training facility for $241,417.

“The lease of the simulator for the first year will include the setup, training, and shipping cost for a total of $55,059.52 utilizing Firing Range/Training Facility project funds. The annual cost of the contract for the following four years is an estimate because of the changing technology and updates that might be necessary in future years the annual amount could increase,” according to Council’s consent agenda item.

Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Linda Thompson said, “This equipment will enable our officers to train for the most difficult real-life situations that could occur in our community. And while our officers receive some of the best training our State has to offer, simulation training will evaluate quick decision making, weapon readiness, tactical responses and an officers ability to de-escalate some tense situations.”

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