Police innovate with VR in use of drive coaching

CORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) held annual violence and firearms training for its officers this week at the Cornwall Civic Complex. For the first time they have included elements of virtual reality (VR) in their training.

The VR components were offered by Chimera Firearms Training. Chimera is owned and operated by Canadian veterans. The Toronto-based company provides professional firearms training using VR techniques.

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The exercises that the CPS conducted included range exercises with handguns and semi-automatic rifles that were used to fire virtual bullets. The officers also had the option to act using live-action video scenarios, the results of which would dynamically change based on the officers’ decisions. Chimera also brought her VR headset to try. The media had an opportunity to learn about some of these training techniques, including the VR headset, which involved shooting a rifle at a virtual range.

Chimera had 18 live-action scenarios for officers to test themselves on, including a disgruntled warehouse clerk with a shotgun, violent gang members, a school student with a knife, and more. These scenarios allowed the officers to issue limited commands to the live-action actors in the video who would respond accordingly. The training gave officers the opportunity to quickly assess a situation and use whatever level of violence they deemed appropriate, which was also tracked by Chimera’s program.

CPS Sgt. Troy St. Germain is responsible for applying strength training with the service. He explained that officers are required to complete eight hours of firearms training annually, but when practicing with live firearms, each officer usually has a limit of 100 rounds.

“Virtual Reality is much cheaper,” said Officer St. Germain. “We have already shot almost 5,000 laps in the past two days.”

Members of the CPS Police Board were also invited to experience the VR training for themselves.

“This gives us a good indication of what our officers are using and how complex it is. It’s very informative, ”said Michel Payette of the CPS Police Board.

On Thursday February 13th, the CPS will invite the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) and the OPP to join their exercises.

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