MONMOUTH COUNTY – The Sheriff’s Office is the first in New Jersey to use the latest state of the art virtual reality platform to train members of law enforcement at the Monmouth County Police Academy.
The high-tech equipment includes head mounted gear and accessories which are designed to improve and enhance police response during crisis situations.
“The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is in the forefront when it comes to cutting edge technology, and it is our priority that members of law enforcement receive the highest level of training possible,” Sheriff Shaun Golden said. “We are proud to be the first to deploy this new virtual reality innovative training equipment in NJ, which is aimed to ensure officers are performing at their best. It enables officers to develop skills and de-escalation techniques, in a controlled environment, when split second decisions need to be made.”
The Apex Officer training platform allows officers to be fully immersed in a virtual reality situation with head gear, a back pack and other accessories. When an officer is suited up, they are virtually placed inside the crisis situation.
The scenarios and characters will be created by other officers where they can change the narrative at any time. These scenarios can be anything from a traffic stop to domestic calls to active shooter situations. After each scenario, the officers will hold a debriefing.
“The more accurately we can simulate scenarios officers may actually encounter in the line of duty, the better prepared they’ll be to face them,” Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey said. “Infusing our existing training with this technology puts us on the cutting edge in this respect, and we are excited to get started with our partners at the Sheriff’s Office and make this training available to all of our police officers. We appreciate Sheriff Golden’s efforts to bring this invaluable tool to Monmouth County.”
“The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office are once again providing the highest quality training and resources to our local law enforcement officers through the state-of-the-art Apex Officer training program,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “The Apex Officer training program is an innovative way to prepare our officers for scenarios they may encounter in the field. I commend Sheriff Shaun Golden and Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey for spearheading this program.”
All Monmouth County Police Academy recruits have already started training on the new equipment at the Situational Training And Response Simulator Facility in Freehold as well as officers throughout Monmouth County and more.
The Monmouth County Sheriff Office is currently the only agency in the state to have a dedicated building for virtual reality and hands on training, with the APEX Officer being its latest initiative.
STARS is equipped with two of the APEX Officers. They were purchased through the law enforcement officer trust fund, a grant provided by the state.
For more information, visit mcsonj.org.