The Washington Post: How role-playing helps police do their job

UC criminal justice expert speaks to new virtual reality police training

There’s a new frontier in police training: virtual reality platforms that assist police officers with decision making skills; and there is a growing body of evidence that they work. Some use live actors, others project videotaped scenarios on screens that wrap around the room.

Police officers generally spend far less time on de-escalation training than on firearms practice, even though the vast majority of police interactions involve unarmed civilians, according to a Washington Post interview with Robin Engel, a criminal justice professor in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services.

Engel has been researching police de-escalation training for over two decades and is a lead researcher on a new partnership with Jigsaw, a unit within Google, to test the company’s virtual reality police training platform.

The training is aimed at defusing tense situations officers may encounter on patrol, Engel said, but it does not address higher-risk scenarios.

Read The Washington Post article 

Read more about the VR training research at UC, led by Robin Engel  

Featured image at top of police car: Photo/Michael Fortsch/Unsplash.


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