EXCLUSIVE: NYPD is testing virtual reality training drills for real-life scenarios like active shooters

ByCeFaan Kim and Josh Hartmann & Emily Sowa via WABC logo
Saturday, June 1, 2019
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The NYPD is testing virtual reality training drills for real-life scenarios that would be impossible to recreate.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Imagine the possibilities if the NYPD could conduct active shooter training drills at the World Trade Center?

Now because of virtual reality they can.

A couple hundred NYPD officers have taken part in a week-long pilot program at a state-of-the-art facility in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is the first time the NYPD is using VR.

"It adds another whole component. You can change the scenarios. You don't need that much space. So we're taking a good look at," says NYPD Counterterrorism Deputy Chief John O'Connell. "I get more scenarios in, in a much shorter time... you get really immersed. There's a lot of heart pounding and it's very realistic," says NYPD Counterterrorism Officer John Schoppmann.

The NYPD is the host of the program. The training provider, funded through the Department of Homeland Security, is Louisiana State University and V-Armed.

"You can really easily configure scenarios with various avatars," says V-Armed engineer Rotem Schiffman.

V-Armed founder Ezra Krausz adds, "Everything we are doing inside of the virtual world is being recorded and we can gather statistics. So once you have a hundred people doing the same thing we can draw conclusions from it."

The goal is for police departments across the nation to endorse this tech so that this training can be incorporated nationwide.

Kevin Burd, who is an instructor with LSU says, "Almost all the scenarios that have been developed here and that we've used during the week here are based on real incidents.

We wanna give them situations where it may turn into a hostage situation. We wanna give them a scenario where folks are running out because that's reality, it's chaotic. We wanna induce that stress."

"Our mission is to do national training across the nation so after this pilot here with nypd we will take it on the road, says LSU's Jason Krause.