On Wednesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the launch a new training program for Ohio law enforcement that utilizes immersive virtual reality technology to simulate possible scenarios. 

Yost says, these trainings, combined with existing training methods, will allow officers to practice responding to and defusing potentially volatile scenarios by using crisis-management techniques. 

"These VR goggles are the next best thing to real-world experience because officers are immersed in split-second decision-making scenarios," Yost said, "If someone makes a mistake while using virtual reality, it doesn't have consequences in the real world."

The program currently has six available scenarios which last between 8 to 12 minutes and can be integrated into longer courses.

The scenario topics cover:

  • Mental health
  • Domestic violence
  • School violence
  • The teen brain
  • Suicide prevention
  • Irate families

Ohio's 900 law enforcement agencies will all have theses programs through the OPOTA Close to Home program, a partnership between the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and six regional training providers located throughout the state.

"We want officers to have a shared training foundation across jurisdictions, and this is one way to ensure that," Yost said. "More consistent training means safer streets for everyone."

Yost also says, this training strategy will allow for low-cost, frequent, and standardized statewide training.

The scenarios were shot on 360-degree cameras and produced in a collaboration with Ohio University's Scripps College of Communication, McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, the Athens Police Department, the Ohio University Police Department, and the Athens County Sheriff's Office.