Wilmington City Council considers funding for police training simulators

Wilmington City Council considers funding for police training simulators
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Council is expected to discuss requests made by the Wilmington Police Department for two different training simulator systems on Tuesday.

According to the agenda, the city manager is requesting to enter into an agreement to purchase a $150,000 driving range simulator and another separate agreement to lease a use of force simulator for $241,417.

Both would be used in the Haynes/Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility currently under construction. The training facility is a 30,000-square-foot building named in honor of Sergeant Edward Haynes of the Wilmington Police Department and Captain Eric Lacewell of the Wilmington Fire Department.

The Doron 500 Le Driving Simulator is the only police simulator that offers a full motion base.

“This design moves the driver and the visual screens in perfect synchronization with the driving experience just as a driver would encounter in an actual vehicle. Other manufacturers only move the seat and not the rest of the simulator, which can cause disorientation and/or motion sickness. The design of the Doron simulator eliminates this from happening. The system is also equipped with 100 drivable scenarios that will provide officers with a variety of on road situations, better training and equipping them for any situation they may encounter while driving,” the letter to council said.

The VirTra V-300 Use of Force Simulator is said the be one of the best on the market, immersing officers in a 300 degree simulation. Some of the scenarios include ambushes, active shooters, service calls and traffic stops.

“The VirTra V-300 system requires officers to maintain full situational awareness during extreme stress, which makes it an excellent training device. In addition to officer presence and situational awareness, communication skills training, de-escalation, Taser, and deadly force situations are all available for simulation using standard-issue law enforcement tools,” the letter said.

Documents say there’s already a dedicated space built into the police and fire training facility specially designed for the VirTra simulator and it would also be used to educate people during citizen police academy classes so locals could experience first hand the challenges police face.

The lease of the simulator for the first year will includes setup, training, and shipping cost for about $55,000. The annual cost of the contract for the following four years is an estimated to come in closer to $46,000 each year.

Both projects will use Firing Range/ Training Facility project funds. Council members are expected to discuss the items on the consent agenda at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

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