Citizen Review Board tests new Orlando police training simulator

Simulator is 'Nothing like what you see on television,' says citizen board

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando’s Citizen Police Review Board is tasked with reviewing use-of-force incidents and suggesting change, if necessary, last week, they witnessed first-hand what officers face when they must to decide to use force or not.

The Citizen Police Review Board was invited to test out different scenarios in OPD’s new high-tech 4K high-definition surround-screen training simulator.

Board Member Tom Keen tried to calm a virtual disgruntled worker with a gun at a City Hall, an irate man threatening to harm a baby and a man who pulled off his shirt looking for a fight.

“It’s kinda hard to pop into it and know what’s going on, but it does look like it does provide some good training opportunities for police to de-escalate,” Keen said afterward.

The simulator tests trainees to see if they can apply the right amount of force in the right situation.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said many of the more than 300 scenarios test de-escalation tactics.

“Deescalation is one of the biggest and hottest topics right now across the nation, 62% of the modules in the system are de-escalation-related,” the chief said.

Board members de-briefed after the scenarios with training officers.

Some suggested in hindsight what they could have done better.

"So I guess the idea was he was going to attack me but I wasn't ready," one board member commented.

Orlando Mayor's MLK Commission member Reggie McGill also tested the simulator.

"It's nothing like what you see on television," McGill said. "I thought it would be much easier." 

Keen called it an "eye-opener."

"Each one you put your life on the line trying to protect others so I have a greater appreciation for OPD after experiencing this personally," Keen said. 

Rolon invites anyone else interested in seeing how officers train to try out the simulator, critics included.

Rolon said the Orlando Police Department was already looking into the simulator in 2019, long before the nationwide police protests started.

The simulator will be available 24 hours per day so officers on all shifts can train at any time.

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.