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Training and Technical Assistance for Virtual Reality De-escalation Training

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $499,996)

Purpose: Effectively training law enforcement (LE) responses to crises related to mental health conditions and intellectual or developmental disabilities is critical given their frequency and risk for negative outcomes during these responses. Virtual reality (VR) technology can make de-escalation training more accessible, cost-effective, reliable, and translatable to the community. For agencies to receive the full benefits of this technology, particularly when integrated into evidence-based crisis response trainings, they must overcome a multitude of challenges related to implementing technology, collecting and evaluating data, and ensuring the training is evidence based and appropriately focused. We propose to provide training and technical assistance (TTA) to support sites in overcoming these challenges as they implement VR training to serve individuals in crisis safely.

Primary Activities: Our TTA team has extensive expertise implementing and evaluating VR technology with LE and supporting LE training, community engagement, and evaluation. Our TTA approach includes a conceptualization phase during which site assessments will inform individual and collective TTA needs and readiness. TTA activities and deliverables include regular meetings, working groups, site visits, interactive training webinars and videos, and written materials such as practitioner guides and case studies. Developed resources will support both grantee needs and the larger field through dissemination via BJA’s National TTA Center and National LE Knowledge Lab. An in-person grantee meeting will foster peer-to-peer learning, discussion on problem-solving implementation barriers, the sharing of success stories and best practices, and the coordination of evaluation activities and will inform future TTA services. Supporting sites in connecting with the community to receive input and participation from those with lived experience is an activity within our project design.

Expected Outcomes: We expect grantees will perceive this TTA as beneficial to their ability to implement VR training for crisis responses effectively. This includes improving their experiences with VR technology, improving training outcomes, effectively integrating a diverse set of community members and persons with lived experiences into training, and enhancing the impact of research and evaluation activities. We also expect to inform the field of successful policies and practices by documenting grantee experiences. Finally, we expect an outcome of this TTA to include improved performance measurement tracking through our creation of a standardized data collection plan for sites.

Service Area: Nationwide.

Intended beneficiaries: Grantees of the BJA FY23 VR De-escalation Site-based Initiative are the primary beneficiaries; however, developed resources will be applicable to a national audience.

Date Created: November 13, 2023