Garrett County Sheriff's Office Utilizes Virtual Reality De-escalation Training

The Garrett County Sheriff's Office is pioneering a progressive approach to officer training and community safety. Embracing cutting-edge technology, the department is now implementing a state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) de-escalation training program. This training aims to equip its officers with advanced skills in crisis intervention, de-escalation tactics, and active shooter situations.

The new VR training program, developed by Apex Officer, a company known for its expertise in creating immersive training solutions for law enforcement, is run by retired law enforcement professionals. The program costs $70,000 and was fully funded by the Maryland “Police Accountability, Community, and Transparency” grant. The software prepares officers by using over a million different simulations.

"Our commitment to public safety and community trust is unwavering," said Garrett County Sheriff Bryson Meyers. "With the Apex Officer VR training system, we are at the forefront of law enforcement training. This tool not only enhances our officers' ability to handle critical incidents with greater confidence but also supports our ongoing efforts to serve our community with compassion and respect."

The VR system places officers in a simulated environment where their actions directly influence the outcome of each scenario. This immediate feedback loop allows for real-time learning and adjustment. "It's about creating an instinctual response in our officers to de-escalate effectively, ensuring the safety of both our officers and the community members they serve," Sheriff Meyers added.

In addition to standard law enforcement training, the program includes specialized modules for the detention center, with Maj. Colt Ruby, Lt. Mark Pfaff, and Lt. Justin Fitzwater already in training to incorporate these critical scenarios in detention operations.

The Garrett County Sheriff's Office is confident that this approach will significantly contribute to reducing the incidence of force-related incidents, fostering a safer environment for both the community and law enforcement personnel. The department is dedicated to continuous improvement and is committed to leveraging technology to enhance their service to the community.

For more information about the Garrett County Sheriff's Office and its VR training program, please contact Maj. Colt Ruby at 301-334-1911.

Created 2/13/2024 11:04am
Last Updated 2/13/2024 1:56pm