Fargo News

Innovative VR training system approved for West Fargo Police

West Fargo, North Dakota – The West Fargo City Commission has taken a groundbreaking step in law enforcement training by approving the purchase of a state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) training system for their police department. In a decision made during the City Commission meeting on Monday, January 8, an allocation of $95,000 from the Public Safety Sales Tax funds was sanctioned for acquiring the cutting-edge VR system, known as Street Smarts VR.

Street Smarts VR is not just any training system; it is equipped with exclusive features and a partnership with the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program. This program is highly esteemed and recognized by the FBI as the top standard for active shooter response training. The system is set to revolutionize the way the West Fargo Police Department trains its officers, providing them with scripted active shooter scenarios, room clearing, and crime scene processing simulations. These modules are specifically designed to enhance the practical skills of the officers in handling critical and high-pressure situations.

Chief Pete Nielsen of the West Fargo Police Department shared his optimism about the significant impact of the Street Smarts VR system on training quality. He stressed the benefits that the technology would bring, not only to the officers and staff but also to the wider community. The adoption of this advanced technology is part of the department’s effort to stay abreast of the evolving demands of law enforcement, particularly in the rapidly growing metro area.

A particularly noteworthy aspect of the VR system is its inclusion of scenarios that address mental health calls. This is a new feature for 2024, crafted with the input of mental health professionals to ensure an accurate and effective portrayal of such sensitive situations. This inclusion demonstrates the department’s awareness and responsiveness to the complexities of modern policing, especially in dealing with mental health issues.

With this acquisition, the West Fargo Police Department positions itself as the first in North Dakota to integrate VR technology into their training regimen. This initiative will be funded through the half-percent (0.5%) sales tax introduced on July 1, 2023, a measure dedicated to supporting police and fire department operations, equipment, and facilities.

This innovative approach underscores the department’s dedication to public safety and its commitment to continually improving the force’s ability to respond adeptly to various situations. The inclusion of mental health scenarios in the VR training reflects a progressive and holistic approach to law enforcement, recognizing the importance of equipping officers with the skills to handle diverse challenges, including those involving mental health.

Mitch Havens

Mitch holds a distinguished position as a foremost authority at Fargo News Now. Drawing upon his prior expertise garnered from renowned publications such as CNN and Time, our ambitions extend beyond merely serving the local community, as we also aspire to make a national impact in the realm of journalism.

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