New technology is in town and it seeks to expose cops to what it is like handling a psychiatric in distress.
Police officers are faced with the regular task of having to respond to one form of disturbance or the other. These disturbances range from domestic disputes escalating to a woman disturbing the midnight peace at a neighborhood apartment.
When such situations occur, law enforcement officers are called upon, and when they do arrive certain things are bound to happen. Gunshots may be fired, confusion may ensue and before you know it, the subject gets pinned to the ground.
More often than not, it is only after the whole thing that the police officer gets to discover that he was not handling a criminal but someone who is suffering from a psychological issue. Some of these issues include schizophrenia, drug-induced psychosis, issues with medication, or someone battling autism and can’t locate the way home.
There is an issue that American Police officers face all the time but more often than not, they are untrained and lack the capacity to deal with the issues with a view to de-escalating the issue with a view to arriving at a reasonable conclusion.
This year alone, over fifty individuals diagnosed with mental health issues have been killed by police officers in America. Experts have described this as the most comprehensive.
According to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, his personal experience working on the streets of Chicago exposed him to the fact that about 50% of the people he encountered in an arrest situation had one mental issue or the other. Some of them suffered from schizophrenia, autism, bipolar issues, and others.
There is however good news in this regard as a new program has been launched in Chicago. This trailblazing tool makes use of Virtual reality with a view to assisting the cops better comprehend how to deal with people who are in the middle of a psychiatric issue.
By making use of simulations that are fashioned for gaming goggles, police officers can now have a first-hand feel of what these subjects go through.
How it works!
The moment you have the goggles and headphones on, you are immediately faced with a scene where bright lights flash on your face from different angles. In addition to this, different voices vie at different decibels for your attention while your vision becomes blurred. As this occurs, a cop moves closer to you with a parent shouting at the cop with instructions. No matter what you do, you end up with the realization that you are trapped.
The VR technology was developed by an Arizona based company named Axon Enterprise which builds weapons and technology for the law enforcement agencies. Axon gained its reputation by fitting different police departments Nationwide with Body Camera’s that become the mainstay.
According to Laura Brown the senior training Director of Axon Enterprise, the Virtual reality training has the tendency to give even the most hardened police officers a strong emotional experience. It is on record that Axon has so far trained over 1,000 instructors who can carry out VR training all over the country.
As it stands, the VR technology is primed to spread to other states in the country, and it is expected that the knowledge and experience garnered by cops should prepare them to better handle people with psychological issues.