HGTC unveils 360-degree virtual police training simulator; first of its kind in S.C.

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 11:17 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry Georgetown Technical College unveiled its new 360-degree police training simulator, the first of its kind in South Carolina.

Criminal justice students at HGTC are learning to make smarter and quicker decisions using the new highly advanced police training simulator.

The same technology is used by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia, but only allows officers to train in a 180-degree simulator.

From school shootings to domestic violence situations, the training program can simulate over 1,000 scenarios for those studying criminal justice or enrolled in HGTC’s police pre-academy training.

The training allows students to realize just how fast they have to make decisions in these high-pressure, life-or-death situations.

Each scenario is different for every student as the professors, who are all former law enforcement officers, control the simulation from a computer.

The virtual display can also be used for students interested in forensics, using the display to determine what type of evidence should be collected from a crime scene and how to determine the cause of death.

“When they get into the field and get that additional training from the academy and their field training officer, they’ll be more prepared for what they encounter when they hit the streets,” said Dr. Dan Wysong, the dean of HGTC’s Criminal Justice Program.

The program is completely interactive. It allows students to speak to virtual suspects and victims. They are also able to use different types of weapons which are extremely accurate to what an officer would carry in the field.

The training program also has several cameras recording how each student reacts allowing professors to debrief after a simulation.

“When we get into the situation where the suspect is shooting back at you, we look at does the student freeze or actually engage, does the student overshoot because of excitement, adrenaline or tunnel vision,” said criminal justice professor Jeffrey Scott.

Several officers from local agencies were at the unveiling.

Wysong said it’s their plan to allow local law enforcement to also use the training simulation and build relationships with students who they hope will one day serve alongside those officers.

“This is cutting-edge training. You can’t get it many other places and the majority of our students when they graduate within two years they end up in law enforcement or corrections and they stay local,” said Wysong.

The criminal justice professors at HGTC said this type of technology will only better prepare the next generation of law enforcement before they head to the academy.

“This system also tracks the shots as they’re fired so if you shoot multiple rounds I can tell you which person shot and how many times they were shot along with how accurate they were,” said Scott.

The police training simulator is already being used by students this semester.