Agencies, including Seattle PD and King County Sheriff's, visited Axon offices monthly for user testing to ensure the product was being seen and evaluated by end users.
Jada’s team also conducted a 4-month long study with Phoenix PD to research VR training. The study, conducted by the National League of Cities, looked at a three-month period in which over 85 officers at Phoenix PD's South Mountain Precinct went through nine of Axon's Community Engagement scenarios in VR. The study found that 81.4% of participants said that at least one of the VR training scenarios was effective in preparing them to adapt their approach to a call. Additionally, 59% of participants found that at least one of the scenarios had encouraged them to see things from another perspective.
To date, hundreds of public safety officers have provided some form of feedback or input into Axon Simulator Training research.
2. Decentralization impacts product design decisions
“The more we talked to folks, the more we learned that the gaps, needs and requirements varied in agencies based on size and location,” said Jada. “We found the TASER training and certification protocols in Seattle looked different than those in a rural location, let’s say in the mid-west. Everyone does it differently.”
For many of Axon’s international customers, including Germany and the UK, protocols are standardized across the country, in the U.S. standards and requirements can vary greatly by location.
Axon VR Simulator Training was therefore developed to allow customization, so customers could define their learning and training objectives in accordance with their own unique requirements.
3. It’s all comes down to building muscle memory
Simulator Training helps trainees build muscle memory by allowing them to respond to situations they may have never encountered in the field in realistic virtual conditions. Simulator Training utilizes limitless variables that can be introduced and changed in real-time by trainers as trainees assess situations, give verbal commands and make split-second decisions, including drawing on their TASER energy weapon and training firearms should a situation demand.
One of the greatest concerns for the Axon team was introducing training scars, or something officers would do in our training that they would not do in the real world, as this could lead to negative impacts in real-world scenarios.
When the team completed MIS training, the importance of muscle memory during a crisis event became ever more clear.
“I only had 10 minutes of firearm training right before I went through these drills and in my mind, I was repeating to myself, if you see a knife coming at you, you are supposed to pull the firearm,” recalled Jada as she prepared for her final test.
When it was time for the final “guantlet-style” mock exercise, she found that her body instinctively turned to the method where she had the most training — her TASER device.