Halton police will be first in Canada to use virtual reality empathy training

Published November 27, 2019 at 2:32 pm

International technology company Axon announced that the Halton Regional Police Service will be Canada’s first law enforcement agency to use its virtual reality empathy training program through Axon Academy, a network of online and in-person training for law enforcement.

HRPS has received 20 Oculus Go headsets to begin training its internal teams and will officially launch its program in the first quarter of 2020.

“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, the Halton Regional Police Service. “This partnership with Axon will ultimately serve to bolster community safety and well-being.”

“HRPS is deploying Axon’s VR empathy-based training in an effort to increase community safety following an increasing number of mental health calls seen in the region,” according to Axon. “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”.

HRPS will have access to three different VR training scenarios that Axon currently offers: autism, schizophrenia, and suicide empathy training. The agency will also gain access to future training scenarios as they are developed.

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