ALTON, Texas — (KVEO) — In an era where technology is at the touch of everyone’s fingertips, one local police department is making it their mission to enhance training through the latest technology on the market.
Alton Police is training all of their officers, from the most senior to the newest patrolman, using a new virtual reality setting simulator.
“From those that have one week in, to one year in or even 15-20 years in, we’ll put them all through this course,” said Lt. Michael Martinez with Alton Police.
The new technology arrived to the agency this week and already officers are getting the first hand experience.
“We are ready, this is great for the officers and the community,” said Lt. Martinez.
The virtual simulations offer more than 90 different scenarios where officers can train in house, before facing that situation in real time.
Domestic violence calls, traffic stops, active shooter situations and even mental health calls are all options for the scenarios.
“Our officers will be more prepared when they see a mental health issue or an emergency issue and we can recognize that and not go straight into force and we can slow things down and really get them the help that they need and get them to a medical facility,” said Lt. Martinez, “If our officers make a mistake here we can correct it, compared to as to if you make a mistake out in the field we can’t correct that behavior out in the field”
With calls for service increasing, officers say this new technology will save lives.
“Almost on a daily basis we see domestic issues going on and not all result in arrests, some are verbal discussions, but there are some assaults in those cases as well,” said Lt. Martinez.
The training tests officers on how focused they are on their surroundings, locating suspects, weapons, the distance from danger, as well as when to use lethal force and how to de-escalate a situation.
The new technology is not the only good news for the Alton Police Department, this week.
The agency just received the award of “Recognized Law Enforcement Agency” from the Texas Police Chiefs Association Law Enforcement Recognition Program.
Alton Police is the only RGV agency to hold the award and they join the less than 10 percent of Texas law enforcement agencies who have completed the process.