Regional Police go high tech to train officers how to handle dangerous and delicate situations.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2019



You are a police officer suddenly facing a delicate situation.

The person you are facing is threatening to harm themselves – they are holding a bottle filled with gasoline.

How do you de-escalate what is taking place? You are by yourself and think that calling for back-up will only make the situation worse.

The Halton Regional Police announced the launch of a virtual reality (VR) training program for its officers. The HRPS has partnered with Axon, the global leader in connected public safety technologies, and is the first police service in Canada to utilize Axon`s VR empathy-based training services.

VR equipment

Police officers being trained on how to manage delicate but dangerous situations. A situation is displayed inside the “mask” that a police officer can interact with to learn different ways to handle different situations.

VR is another tool in the Police Service`s existing and robust mental health training curricula. The program provides officers with an immersive training experience where trainees can put themselves in the shoes of both the officer responding to the scene and the person in crisis. Through this partnership, the HRPS will have access to three different VR training scenarios that Axon currently offers. In the future, the Service will use the insights of the many stakeholders in the community to develop additional training modules.

The HRPS has received 20 Oculus GO headsets from Axon, which will be used when training begins in early 2020.

HRPS Virtual Reality Training Program

From left to right: HRPS Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie, Axon Managing Director Vishal Dhir, and HRPS Training Bureau Staff Sergeant Dave Tutte

“Axon’s innovative empathy-based training will complement our existing training program and further enable our frontline officers to manage and de-escalate potentially high-stakes interactions,” says Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie, Halton Regional Police Service. “This partnership with Axon will ultimately serve to bolster community safety and well-being.”

For more information and a video demonstration of one of the programs being implemented, click here.

Mental health training remains a top priority for the HRPS and will serve to enhance the ability to meet the needs of the residents of Halton. The HRPS remains committed to working with the many community stakeholders and developing de-escalation based training for officers.

Axon is a global network of devices, apps, training and people that helps public safety personnel become smarter and safer.


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