Odessa College utilizes VirTra Simulator

The Odessa College Law Enforcement Training Academy demonstrated its virtual reality training system that has more than 100 scenarios on Tuesday morning.

William Misczak, OC LETA instructor, showed members of the media how to deescalate situations or how quickly situations can escalate from non-lethal to lethal.

The virtual reality training system is a VirTra Simulator that is designed to help officers improve how they respond to active shooter, domestic violence, mental health scenarios and other high-stress situations.

“It gives the officers an opportunity to engage in scenarios,” Misczak said. “It’s kind of a simulator or base training apparatus.”

While Misczak was participating in the simulation with a handgun that used CO2 to mimic live-round recoil, OC LETA Training Coordinator Nikki Brown would choose how the simulation would continue whether it was in a non-lethal or lethal direction.

Brown said the VirTra Simulator is an important tool that can show many real-life scenarios. It also shows real-life locations including a movie theater, courthouse, school campus and park.

“(As the operator) you are doing several things at the same time,” she said. “You have to be paying attention to what the person on the simulation is saying, what they are doing and how are you going to increase or decrease the stress level of the officer.”

The VirTra Simulator uses realistic language that officers would hear in the field whether it’s curse words, insults or yelling various phrases.

The simulator also allows instructors to rewind and show where the fired rounds go. Misczak said that it’s crucial to see where rounds end up, especially in crowded areas.

“When we are looking at those rounds, we want to be able to identify where those rounds go when they go down range,” he said. “You got to know where those rounds go when they leave your weapon.”

Brown said that Odessa College received the VirTra Simulator in the spring through a grant.

This simulator will be available to not only recruits in the Odessa College Law Enforcement Training Academy, but other criminal justice students on campus.

“We are very fortunate to have this for the students at Odessa College, so when they go to their various agencies they have an advantage of this training,” Brown said.