PULASKI COUNTY, Ark – The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is rolling out a new training system, teaching deputies how to deescalate through virtual reality.
The Department started using the equipment about two months ago becoming some of the first in the state to do so.
“It puts you in that environment and everywhere you turn around and look around or look up, you’re in that system,” said Pulaski County Sheriff Eric Higgins.
Using virtual reality, PSCO says it can drop a deputy at a random location and initiate a new storyline each time.
“I can’t make this room look like a hospital, I can’t make it look like a detention room, I can’t make it look like a school but in the VR system, I can,” said a lieutenant leading the training.
This week, our Jessica Ranck got the chance to put on the headset, pretending to be behind the badge.
The Lieutenant in charge dropped Ranck in the River Market with a task to deescalate a disturbance downtown.
“Whether its intoxication, whether its mental illness, whether they’re just having a bad day, we give deputies the opportunity to deescalate the situation,” said the lieutenant.
“It’s not just about shoot, don’t shoot, it is about how do we bring the situation down so we can resolve it,” said Sheriff Higgins.
The department says it has two VR sets which mean four can participate at the same time. Higgins says the new equipment helps increase the number of hours trained and makes training easier to conduct.
“We can do that training here,” said Higgins.
The VR training will be an addition to face-to-face interactions.
Higgins says it will be offered to other departments.