Huntsville Police Academy acquires Virta 300 Training Simulator

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Huntsville Police Department is now using a brand new tool in their officer training: a simulation system called the Virtra 300, for 300 degrees of training activity.

It may be a simulation, but these police officers treat it like the real thing. During the simulation, officers use what they carry with them every day.

"The weapon systems that we use are the exact same systems we use on the street," said training director Dewayne McCarver.

The Virtra 300 hears what officers say and changes each scenario accordingly.

"Even the verbal tactics, the de-escalation tactics are integrated right into this system," McCarver said.

No sequence of events during a scenario ever happens the same way.

"They can never get comfortable with any scenario," McCarver explained. "It allows us to really make sure that officers don't get what we call "training scars" where they get used to some certain event or some way that things will play out."

The simulator is not just a shooting gallery. Each simulation is based on real calls from police stations across the country and they are designed to look as real as possible.

"The company actually hired real actors to create those scenarios, because the realism of those scenarios is really important," McCarver said. "If you don't feel like it's real-life it doesn't have the same impact."

All HPD officers will train using the state-of-the-art system. not just cadets. The department says it will also invite law enforcement agencies from all across north Alabama to come and train with it.

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