Iowa police use virtual reality for de-escalation training

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 7:23 AM CDT
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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (WOI) - Virtual reality training is helping police in Iowa with de-escalation practices.

There are only two simulators like this in the state.

One is in Dubuque County, and the other is in West Des Moines.

Here’s how it works: officers hear a scenario from dispatch. They will interact with the simulation while someone else controls what happens.

There are 240 scenarios such as an active shooter or a murder-suicide.

Jody Hayes, the West Des Moines assistant police chief, said all 89 officers in the department train monthly. The goal is to avoid the use of force.

“We’ve had to use force in the past with calls for service, and we never want to,” Hayes said. “We always want to de-escalate that to where no force is needed every time we go on a call for service.”

The police department pays $50,000 a year for the simulator.

The cost comes out of their annual training budget.

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