JSU Unveils Virtra 300 Police Training System

Law enforcement agencies across Alabama will have the ability to use a state-of-the-art virtual training system at Jacksonville State University’s McClellan Center for free.

The VirTra 300 was unveiled Wednesday at a groundbreaking ceremony.

It is described as “the world’s first 300-degree reality-based situational training simulator”. It is programmed with over 200 training scenarios ranging from active fire drills to routine traffic checks, allowing officers to make split-second decisions in real time.

Kaleb Littlejohn, director of the Center for Best Practices in Law Enforcement, said VirTra’s branching options separate it from other simulators, allowing the controller to change scenarios based on the trainee’s communications and actions in the simulation.

“It allows the trainee to engage in the simulation and work on communication skills,” Littlejohn said.

These simulations also provide real weapons training, using modified pistols and tasers that have a realistic feel. Scenarios can also be set at different times of the day and in locations with different lighting, allowing officers to train with flashlights as well.

“Our guns are real Glock 45s but with the guts replaced,” Littlejohn said. “Magazines contain liquid CO2, so you get a realistic kick from the gun. Tasers and flashlights with different filters will also come later.

Littlejohn said they are receiving additional training on the system to be able to set up scenarios in places such as schools and municipal buildings.

“At the request of an agency, we will be able to visit different locations, such as local courthouses, schools and university buildings, and take panoramic photos of rooms specific to that location,” he said. declared. “The people inside their scenario database will automatically populate the scene when we place the photos. This will allow for a more real element for it.

Regional law enforcement was able to test the equipment themselves. Jacksonville Police Chief Marcus Wood and JSU Police Chief Michael Barton were able to run the same scenario, but with different hookup options to demonstrate the system’s capabilities.

“It gives us insight into what our officers face on patrol,” Wood said of the system, “Having the ability to come (manage) things, especially when we welcome new people, is something which will allow us to not have to worry about weather conditions affecting our training and ultimately can reduce the cost of ammunition.

Barton added: “It was very realistic to walk through it, from the way they reacted to the way they executed commands. Cost and weather are not a concern here. It’s in a controlled environment, which allows us to have very flexible hours.

His biggest hope for the system is that it provides better training for agents, helping them develop skills and better prepare for real-life situations.

“The VirTra 300 is about the closest we have to being able to put agents in tense interactions and get them to work,” he said. “All skills are perishable. Whether it’s communication, the use of force, or basic cognitive skills if they’re not trained, we lose them. VirTra is a tool that allows us to strengthen all these skills.

Jacksonville Police Chief Marcus Wood uses the new VirTra 300 simulator at Jacksonville State University.

The system was funded by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and Littlejohn credited retired district judge Laura Phillips, now an assistant district attorney in Calhoun County, with much of the work to secure the funding.

“Judge Phillips was such a big part of our success and among other things he was the person responsible for the relationship we now have with the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians,” he said. “We are very grateful to them. We have been able to provide many law enforcement trainings and projects with the funds they have provided. »

Littlejohn said an online database is underway for departments to book training dates; those who want to do it now can email him at [email protected].