DOVER, Pa. (WHTM) — Police shootings and body camera footage continue to dominate the headlines.
Northern York County Regional Police just had state-of-the-art virtual reality equipment delivered this week. The department signed a five-year lease with the company WRAP reality, so officers could use the software for training.
“It’s a three-dimensional environment, so you can look around corners,” said Ethan Moeller, the vice president of WRAP Reality. “You can get down and look under a vehicle if you want to. You can take cover behind that vehicle.”
The goal is to keep officers and those they serve safe. This is done by putting members of the force in stressful situations so they gain muscle memory.
This way, when they have to make split second decisions, they’re prepared.
“Your heart starts racing your knees are shaking,” said Northern York County Regional Police Chief David Lash.
In the virtual reality scenarios, officers are able to use whatever they would normally have on their belts, including guns, pepper spray and BolaWraps.
The system gives multiple situations and outcomes based on how an officer reacts. They can practice de-escalating all kinds of calls in Central Pa., like traffic stops and domestic violence incidents.
“There’s mental health cases in it,” Chief Lash said. “There’s dementia cases in it.”
The chief says the department will use the equipment as often as possible, even during shifts, so officers can continue to learn and improve.