How does Orlando PD get it right? New 4K training simulator tests use of force

65% of simulator scenarios require de-escalation

The Orlando Police Department invited News 6 on Wednesday to see its most realistic, life-life training simulator ever.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Police Department invited News 6 on Wednesday to see its most realistic, life-life training simulator ever.

The department's new VirTra V-300 4K simulator surrounds trainees 300 degrees with 5 giant screens.

A training officer sits at a computer behind the officers watching and tweaking the scenario as trainees react to it.

Each of the more than 300 scenarios has 85 different outcomes.

Trainees are tested on situations ranging from domestic violence, hostages, suicide, mental distress, and many others. Some suspects are armed with a knife or gun, some are not.

65% of the scenarios require de-escalation for a successful outcome.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said the simulator tests training and teaches trainees how to control their emotions and adrenaline during "sensory overload."

"Of course law enforcement officers have to make split-second decisions when they go out there and things can change and escalate real quick," Rolon said. "It is key for our citizens to understand what it is that our officers confront out there. The unknown is the biggest obstacle for officers when they go to a situation, things can change very quickly. And that's the message we need to deliver and be very clear about."

An Orlando Police spokesperson said the interactions in the simulator are so real that "officers can also practice managing their psychological responses to high-intensity stressors, like elevated heart rate, rushes of adrenaline, and the physical impact of weapons discharging."

Rolon said OPD purchased the simulator in 2019 long before police protests broke out nationwide but the simulator is ensuring that officers use the right force in the right situation.

"We're always looking for ways to modify the way we do business to better serve our citizens," Rolon said.

The simulator is the first 4k version sold to any law enforcement in the country, according to Rolon.

Rolon said the Citizens Police Review Board will try out the simulator along with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's Dr. MLK Commission.

He also invited anyone interested in seeing how Orlando police officers train - critics included - to come and test the simulator.

All trainees, after graduating from the police academy, go through seven weeks of training before they hit the streets.

"We do come from the human race and at times there will be individuals who will miss make some mistakes," Rolon said. "We will address those. Misconduct is a different story.

The OPD training center and simulator are open 24 hours a day, Rolon said, so senior officers any time can take their newer officers who may need to brush up on certain skills.

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.