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'My Heart Rate Definitely Went Up': Sacramento Officers Use Virtual Reality To Train On Real World Encounters

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - You can hear a heart-racing confrontation with screaming and threats. It's all a simulation, but emotions run high and the scenarios are intense.

"My heart rate definitely went up, so that's good," said Rosalia Cabrera, a Sacramento police officer of 14 years.

The Sacramento Police Department is adding virtual reality to its arsenal of training techniques.

"They can make the virtual person that they're dealing with become more angry and irate or less angry and irate and also physical actions as well," said Lt. Zachary Bales.

Ken Franklin, a retired police officer, now trains officers with "Survivr." The virtual reality training system recreates real-world police encounters, putting officers to the test on how they would've handled some of the most high-profile cases.

"The whole objective of this is de-escalation, but sometimes force is necessary," said Franklin.

The scenarios aren't always the same either. In fact, they can change from one moment to the next, based on how the officer is handling the situation.

"I can plant weapons. I can make cars, trees, walls. It's totally customizable so it never has the same outcome," said Franklin.

"We need to do everything we possibly can to make sure in some of the really critical incidents that our officers get called to and respond to and handle that we do everything we can so that everybody can walk away at the end of the day," said Chief Daniel Hahn.

The new training tool aims to arm officers with new tactics to de-escalate dangerous situations safely.

"That allows me to control my heart rate, my adrenaline and deal with whatever situation I have going on. It's great," said Officer Cabrera.

The department has only had it for a month. Training staff is working on perfecting it before it's rolled out to the department.  They hope to have a library of scenarios officers can train with over time.

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