A new VR simulator is being used to prepare criminology students at Southern Illinois University for the workforce.
Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale launched a new virtual reality training program that gives aspiring police officers with realistic law enforcement experience. A VR simulator prepares students for a variety of scenarios, including traffic stops and patrol duty. Matthew Giblin, director of the SIU School of Justice and Public Safety, emphasizes the importance of the new training method.
“What we can do is we can give them the opportunity to experience split second decision making,” said Giblin. “We can give them the opportunity to understand how difficult it is to make decisions on the fly.”
VR simulator for training and research
The program also serves as a research tool to study various aspects of police work. More than 70 students participated in the training so far.
The VR headset looks like an HTC Vive Pro (or Vive Pro 2) connected to a backpack PC. A Vive Tracker integrates the weapon the students train with. A video with impressions can be found in the source linked at the end of the article.
Jamie Stephens is a master’s student at SIU. She hopes the new training program will promote an understanding of the challenges of police work and show how VR can be used as a learning tool in other fields.
Giblin adds that the simulator should also help attract more students to the criminology program. He also hopes to partner with local law enforcement agencies.
VR training for emergency personnel is on the rise
SIU isn’t the only university using VR to train police officers. A Florida police station practices dangerous operations in virtual reality. Emergency response teams in Ohio also use VR training to prepare for emergencies.