Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $798,529)
Louisiana State University’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training – Academy of Counter Terrorist Education (NCBRT) proposes to implement the Virtual Reality De-Escalation Strategies and Professional Policing project. This proposal will leverage DOJ and DHS-funded projects for mutual benefit and cost savings without duplicating work. A DHS-certified course will be an input to this project, reducing development costs significantly. Then, the customized version created for this project can be certified by DHS for continued delivery beyond this period of performance.
The purpose is to customize and validate NCBRT’s existing DHS certified de-escalation course, PER-405 De-Escalation Strategies and Professional Policing, for virtual reality to improve and increase NCBRT’s ability and capacity to effectively train law enforcement officers and community members throughout the United States beyond the period of performance of this award.
Project activities include establishing a customization development/delivery/analysis team; procurement of a 40’x40’ fully immersive virtual reality system; development of a PER-405-C course; one initial development testing session, two training events (each consisting of three classes); collection and analysis of data points; writing of a final report detailing the benefits and weaknesses of utilizing large-scale immersive virtual reality as a training tool in general and specific to de-escalation strategies
The initial two trainings programmed for this project will serve the New York City area and the Baton Rouge, LA area. In New York, participants will be recruited from NYPD and Suffolk County. In the Baton Rouge, LA area participants will come from LSU PD, Baton Rouge PD and East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office. Once this project is complete and NCBRT transitions the VR system for use under an ongoing DHS project, the service area will be nationwide across the United States, with an estimated 1800 participants per year.
The first-level beneficiary of this project is law enforcement officer and community member participants who complete the two trainings programed under this award and future trainings delivered via ongoing DHS funding. Ultimate beneficiaries will be persons experiencing a crisis such as mental health and substance use co-occurring disorders who are engaged by better trained officers.
Expected outcomes include validation of virtual reality as an effective tool for de-escalation training; adoption of the customized PER-405 course and VR system into continued nationwide delivery; positive Kirkpatrick Level 1, 2 and 3 evaluations; and a publishable report detailing positive and negative aspects of utilizing virtual reality as a training tool.