Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $800,000)
The Michigan State Police Organizational Development Division's Enforcement In-Service Section (MSP-EISS) will use the FY23 BJA Virtual Reality De-Escalation Site-Based Initiative (VRDI) grant to implement a statewide expansion of its current centrally located pilot VR training program and develop a community engagement component. The overall goal of this program will be to teach best practices in patrol tactics with an emphasis on de-escalation, crisis response, and partner coordination with varying degrees of stress and cognitive load. Expert patrols instructors will leverage the infrastructure for the ongoing, evidence-based de-escalation and CRIT programs to develop both (1) classroom and (2) scenario-based virtual reality (VR) training that will be delivered on a monthly basis in each of MSP’s seven districts. The curriculum will include a variety of challenging calls for service and behavioral health topics with corresponding VR scenario practice. Instructors will conduct comprehensive after-action reviews using the VR system’s instant replay feature to illustrate course concepts, tailoring feedback to develop and reinforce student skills. To promote community engagement, MSP-EISS will offer an annual civilian VR training day to share law enforcement experiences with the public. Altogether, MSP-EISS will use its enhanced VR training program to promote retention of a practical patrols skillset that allows troopers to identify citizens in crisis and maximize opportunities for de-escalation and crisis response while demonstrating its community policing efforts to the communities MSP serves. To accomplish these goals, MSP-EISS will work with academic partners at Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University as well as community stakeholders to develop a statewide, evidence-based VR training program.