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Pitt County deputies use virtual reality & schools to train for crisis situations

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Law enforcement officers encounter unpredictable situations every day and make life-altering decisions in seconds.

The only way to prepare is to practice and now Pitt County deputies are using virtual reality to train for real-life crisis situations.

This month more than 100 deputies who carry guns must complete hour-long training sessions where they take on virtual suspects in different environments.

As they try to control each situation, the suspect can react in different ways. They will either comply with the deputy's commands, or ignore them and choose to fire their weapons.

Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks says the simulation induces stress that mimics real-life.

"It's to make the officer think," he says. "It's to make a decision. Do I need to shoot now? Do I need to give stronger commands? What do I got to do to make this guy comply?"

But it doesn't stop at virtual training.

Pitt County deputies are also preparing for active shooter situations on school campuses.

Supervisors say the drills test deputies' response times and decision-making skills in high stress situations. The environment also helps deputies learn the layout of local schools so they're familiar with their surroundings if they're ever faced with a real active shooter situation.

"The intentions of an active shooter are to kill as many people as he possibly can," Lt. Terry Williams says. "The training we're going through today is to help us intervene as soon as possible so that we can stop the active shooter from killing innocent people."

Over the next two weeks more than 150 deputies will complete active shooter training exercises.

 

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