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One Police Department’s Introduction to Augmented Reality Training

GOLDEN, Colorado – In August, officers with the Colorado School of Mines Department of Public Safety had the unique opportunity to get their hands-on developing technology that can already be easily incorporated into their training.

The Mines Police Department serves the students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the Colorado School of Mines Campus as well as the residents of the city of Golden. Officers are trained in accordance with the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Board and the Colorado Revised Statutes. In addition to patrol and investigations, Mines officers also provide several programs that support students and a safe campus environment.

The department’s latest training event involved their introduction to Watchword, the augmented reality (AR) system from Aviro Analytics. Watchword delivers hands-on training in a realistic digital environment. The system presents detailed, accurate simulations to emulate real buildings and real scenarios that can then be customized and used in training in any location with minimal equipment.

“In the past, training tended to be dull. It was low-stress, classroom, scenarios or using videos,” said Mines Officer Amara Roberts. “When we first saw a mention of augmented reality training on, we noticed what our current training was lacking.”

Officer Roberts and her coworkers tried Watchword’s various simulations, such as an active shooter and a de-escalation situation, and immediately noticed physiological stressors.

“This was really amazing at every level,” said Roberts. She added that the level of stress that Watchword provided made the training exciting and engaging. “This would be great to test our trainees, with the ability to introduce high stress scenarios and see how they respond.”

Watchword’s ability to provide different scenarios in the subjects prevented any rote outcomes. Its ability to record biometrics and other information allowed each officer to see where the deficiencies were in their scenarios.

“This will be valuable not only in our training with our perishable skills but also with building community relations.  Being able to show the public how we train and what we see when dealing with intense situations.” Officer Roberts said when describing how versatile Watchword is.

The AR training offered through Watchword can help develop and maintain the necessary skills law enforcement officers need without the need for an elaborate physical setting. Capturing biometrics and other information officers can learn about their deficiencies in the training environment and build on improving themselves for their safety, the safety of their fellow officers, and the safety of those they protect.