Colorado police force uses augmented reality to train officers for dangerous scenarios

WATCH: Colorado first responders are now training for dangerous scenarios using augmented reality
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:54 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:39 AM MST
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GOLDEN, Colo. (KKTV) - A new approach to training first responders is now being used at the Colorado School of Mines through Avrio Analytics’ augmented reality program.

“It really does have a lot of added value in terms of ability to bring real training to officers in a much more dynamic and flexible way,” said Dustin Olson, director of public safety and chief of police at Colorado School of Mines.

Olson said he first heard of this training method through a former student at the Colorado School of Mines and was intrigued by its ability to train officers in their own facilities.

“It’s fun, it offers them abilities to engage in real life scenarios and not go far,” added Olson. “It’s not like they have to pack up and go out of town to attend quality training for a number of days.”

The CEO of Avrio Analytics, Alicia Caputo, says that augmented reality is different from virtual reality programs in that it just adds components to the actual space the user is already in. All agencies have to do is provide a blue print of the building they want their first responders to train in.

“You could put in tons of augmented characters into the scene,” explained Caputo. “You could also put in explosives, you could put in fires, you could put in anything from radiation to hazmat training to an active shooter scene; that’s all done through our tablet application.”

First responders in training use a controller that connects to a small backpack and charger through blue-tooth technology. The small controller can then be attached to any sort of weapon or device that is normally used for training purposes.

“So, then the officer engages that particular virtual person and then based on their abilities to, say, de-escalate then that kind of drives the response and the actions of that person,” said Olson.

Caputo and Olson both agree that this cost-effective way to train officers is much more suitable for first responders that don’t have the luxury to leave their facilities.

“They can literally do the training at any time,” explained Caputo. “Either at three in the morning, whenever that officer is on shift, and it doesn’t interfere with their schedule.”

“We’re very optimistic,” added Olson. “We’re now rolling it out to introduce it as an in-service training component for the law enforcement officers here at the Colorado School of Mines.”