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Deputies do real life virtual training

By Michael Hennessey
Published On: Jul 16 2013 06:18:43 PM CDT
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Pitt County Sheriff's deputies are using virtual reality to train for real life.

They use a program that reacts to their decisions to prepare them for similar scenarios in the field. "It's just as real as you can get without having the risk of a deadly force encounter," said Captain Jim Marsal.

"The adrenaline level is always high in scenarios like this," said Deputy Christopher Syers. The objective is to emulate the feeling the deputies experience when responding to high-stress situations. That way when they have to act in the field, they do so with a level-head, hopefully preventing injury to themselves and the public. "I don't think there's any law enforcement officer that comes to work that is wanting to use deadly force," said Syers.

Deputies say this is the first time they've done this type of training in 5 years. Each Pitt County Sheriff's Office employee who carries a weapon is required to complete the training.

It consists of multiple scenarios and takes about an hour to complete. Deputies do an hour session on two separate days. "These are core issues, core situations that we run across every day and we wanna make sure they make the best decision for everybody."

Depending on the deputies' reaction, the suspects in the virtual reality videos respond differently. The objective is to control each situation without using deadly force. "We want it to end peacefully with an arrest with no scuffles and no fighting," said Syers. However, just like real life, sometimes that is not an option.

Marsal says it will take about a month to get every gun-wielding employee to complete the training.