Axon Launches Virtual Reality Suicide Empathy Training For Law Enforcement
Axon, the global leader in connected public safety technologies, announced Axon’s new empathy development training for suicide prevention, based in virtual reality. This training has been developed specifically for law enforcement agencies and is available via Axon Academy, a network of online and in-person training for law enforcement. The training will be made available to agencies in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Month 2019 and is the third scenario offered to agencies following the previously announced autism and schizophrenia empathy-based training. Axon’s VR training is designed to better equip officers with the tools to de-escalate situations involving people suffering from mental health issues, crises or psychotic episodes.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates one in five Americans will be affected by mental illness in any given year. Out of the 992 deadly police shootings in 2018, 213 of those shot and killed suffered from a mental illness. Axon’s VR training is designed to address these statistics head-on.
“This program was designed to help officers develop empathy and confidence in their work as first responders for individuals in crisis,” says Laura Brown, Axon Sr. Director of Training. “We are proud to support officers who are too frequently the last line of hope for individuals experiencing suicidal ideations.”
Axon’s VR technology provides officers with an immersive training experience where trainees can put themselves in the shoes of both the officer responding to the scene and the person in crisis. Axon worked closely with a team of subject matter experts to develop the scenario including members of Blue H.E.L.P., an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to law enforcement suicide and mental health issues.
“We can’t emphasize enough the importance of bringing suicide awareness training to law enforcement,” says Nick Greco, Blue H.E.L.P. Board Member. “Axon’s VR Technology provides officers with an additional training tool to reinforce the principles and techniques of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training.”
Axon selected Mesa Dynamic to combine immersive media technology and interactive storytelling to produce this state-of-the-art training experience.Axon’s empathy development training is currently available to customers of Axon’s Officer Safety Plan 7+. For more information on the program or to contact the team, please visit www.axon.com/training/vr-training.