WARNING: The video above may be intense for some viewers.
BELMONT, Calif. (KRON) – Using a virtual reality simulator, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office demonstrated to KRON4 a scenario in which an active shooter was inside a courthouse at the sheriff’s training facility in Belmont. Sheriff Carlos Bolanos talked about what he aims to accomplish by putting deputies through this virtual-reality-based training.
“I believe that it is realistic training that will provide my deputies with the ability to go in and effectively and immediately neutralize any threat that endangers the safety of the public,” he said.
The computer program is made by a company named Virtra, and it simulates both violent and non-violent situations
“As well as dealing with people experiencing a mental health crisis, there’s scenarios that teach de-escalation,” Bolanos said.
KRON4 asked Bolanos if there was training made available to ensure that deputies act on the training they receive when they encounter an active shooter.
“Yes,” Bolanos confirmed. “Ever since Columbine, law enforcement changed their tactics. We used to wait and stage and wait for the tactical teams to come. But after Columbine, all that training changed to immediately partner up with the first available law enforcement officer that arrives on scene, and go in and address that threat.”
Over the next several months, each of San Mateo County’s 400 deputies will undergo their first round of training in the simulator. Bolanos said the training will then continue on an annual basis, with deputies going through the training at least three times per year.