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With virtual reality police training, Sacramento tries to 'get to a much better place'

April 28, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.2%. 2 min read.

With police training programs across the country under intense scrutiny after Derek Chauvin's murder conviction, one department in California is using several high-profile police killings of Black Americans as it trains the next generation of officers to better anticipate and respond to high-risk encounters.

(CNN)With police training programs across the country under intense scrutiny after Derek Chauvin's murder conviction, one department in California is using several high-profile police killings of Black Americans as it trains the next generation of officers to better anticipate and respond to high-risk encounters.

Technology has been critical in the Sacramento Police Department's training program since Clark's killing, with virtual reality simulations allowing officers to be trained in multiple environments virtually without dealing with the logistics involved in regular training, Lt. Zach Bales told CNN.

Controversial police incidents across the country can be turned into virtual reality simulations "almost instantaneously" after they come to light, allowing the training division to tailor objectives and incorporate lessons learned into the training, according to Bales.

The virtual reality center takes elements from real-world police shootings in their reenactments to inform officer training.

The crux of the training is not only focused on use of force or "shoot, don't shoot" practices, but it's the critical decision making that occurs before, during and after officers respond to a call, he said.

The Sacramento Police Department has ramped up other training techniques, such as de-escalation, peer intervention, cultural competency and implicit bias, which agencies are seeking to implement nationwide as they strive to meet community calls for reform.

Too many police reform efforts focus on remedies after the incident takes place and there needs to be a "major investment" in training, research and innovation that prevents incidents of police brutality against the country's citizens, according to Wexler.

PERF has developed a training program called Integrating Communications, Assessments, and Tactics (ICAT) that teaches officers how to manage critical police incidents.

Another movement is underway in police agencies to train officers in crisis intervention by using de-escalation techniques, heeding arguments that law enforcement should not be the first to respond to mental health emergency calls.

Peer intervention training, which is used in the Sacramento agency as well as the New Orleans Police Department, requires cops to check their fellow officers' acts of misconduct, such as use of excessive force.

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