Resource Center

article / April 18, 2022

The value of Axon VR

How Axon VR Training can help your agency make the most of your training hours.

Training has never been more important in law enforcement, but time and other constraints remain a real challenge for most agencies. Virtual Reality (VR) Training has the potential to give your agency back valuable time and use it to optimize other aspects of your training program.

This Document Covers:

  • How VR is helping some industries experience up to 4X better retention, 4X faster learning, and 275% greater confidence in skill implementation

  • Causes and cost of inefficiency in law enforcement training today, from downtime to liability payout, and how VR can help overcome those challenges

  • The benefits of Axon VR Training and how it can complement existing training efforts while reclaiming unproductive time

Training Today

A State-by-State Approach

If you ask 10 different law enforcement agencies what their annual training requirements are, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. While nearly all agencies require certain annual certifications, such as firearms training, EVOC training or CPR, the curriculum and local requirements are widely varied, from number of training hours to complementary topics such as crisis intervention and unconscious bias.

Here is a small sample of differences in required annual training hours*:

*Average mandated per year

No matter whether your agency falls into the lower or higher end of this range, one thing customers often say is: We wish we had more time or resources for training. Instead, agencies are, understandably, extremely selective about which trainings justify pulling people off shift, no matter how meaningful the content may be.

A Costly Proposition

Time constraints are magnified even further by other major challenges:

  • Logistical inefficiencies that cause time to be wasted. If training is centralized at a single location, it requires officers and trainers to travel there and back. And if the session involves scenario-based training, there are times when officers are waiting around for their turn and not actively engaging in the curriculum. Unscheduled breaks and early releases may also contribute to unproductive time.

  • Capital expenses for potential facilities upgrades to accommodate training. Some forms of training require ample classroom capacity, drill space, or dedicated environments that simulate real-world scenarios. Beyond that, equipment storage costs also consume resources.

  • Liability payouts that may arise from ineffective or not enough training. Public data1 shows that law enforcement agencies—large and small—have collectively spent over $2 billion dollars to settle misconduct allegations since 2015, and the median annual payout across a sample of major cities is $12 million. It is often unclear whether more training could have helped in some of these scenarios, but it’s often among the first things constituents demand when something goes wrong.

Training can quickly use up scarce resources, and it is no wonder that many agencies have to make difficult trade-offs when it comes to priorities.

An Alternative Approach

VR has quickly emerged as an effective training medium, not only within public safety but also in other industries like retail, manufacturing, education, healthcare, and many others.

Why is VR so Effective?

Due to its immersive nature, VR causes the brain to experience learning in a different way than traditional mediums. The combination of visual processing, audio, and other stimuli causes someone to process information similarly to a lived experience versus the “2D” means by which slide or video content is delivered. This can produce meaningful benefits in the context of training, including:

  • Up to 4X better retention of content after one year

  • 4X faster skill/knowledge development

  • 4X more focused than e-learning peers

  • 275% greater confidence to apply skills learned after training

Additionally, VR is more scalable than many traditional forms of training due to minimal space and hardware requirements. At some companies, the combination of impactful learning and scalable training has reduced operational costs up to 50%.

The Difference with Axon VR Training

Axon VR Training prepares officers for complex, real-world situations with an all-in-one system that can be easily deployed anytime, anywhere—no PC, physical tracking equipment, or dedicated training space required. Axon is at the forefront of VR Training in Public Safety, with three core offerings.

Community Engagement Training focuses on developing skills, empathy and de-escalation tactics for engaging with individuals in scenarios involving mental health, trauma, peer intervention and more. Through these experiences, officers gain confidence and respond to calls in their communities with new insight, awareness and perspectives, leading to more mutually beneficial outcomes.

Simulator Training enables trainees to practice and refine their skills with a limitless number of variables introduced during drills and increasingly complex scenarios. Trainees control progression as they assess, give verbal commands and make split-second decisions, including drawing on their TASER energy weapons and firearms training should a situation demand.

Axon Academy houses a library of supplemental e-learning content and training materials designed to strengthen the skills learned in the Community Engagement and Simulator Training scenarios. For trainers, after-action reports stored on Academy provide performance and progress metrics, insight into an officer’s decisions, and new coaching and program development opportunities.

Additionally, Axon’s content is unmatched: Axon has over 250+ senior law enforcement trainers, command staff, crisis intervention specialists, and patrol officers that support content development. Additionally, over 275 hours of expert research, collaboration, and review go into developing every VR scenario. Our current VR partners have already found many ways to incorporate VR Training into other types of curriculum, including their training academies, annual in-service training, or as a supplement to CET training. As technology evolves, there will be even more ways to use it for efficient learning.

Axon offers VR trainings in four categories: Empathy, Tactical, Officer Preparedness and Officer Coping. In all cases, Axon’s goal is to foster mutually-beneficial outcomes for officers and the community members with whom they interact. It is all part of Axon’s commitment to deliver innovative training technologies, realistic content, and peer networks as a trusted partner to first responders who want to serve their communities safely and effectively.


All training methods have their place. VR has the potential to take the best of training and deliver it in an efficient and repeatable way.


As previously mentioned, logistical inefficiencies can make training more costly than it needs to be. Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example: Say an agency requires 20 hours of training per year. If even 15% of those hours are downtime, due to officers waiting their turn, taking breaks or ending early, that’s a full 3 hours per officer being used ineffectively. Multiplied across your entire force, it adds up to meaningful dollars being paid for unused time.

Here's how the math breaks down for an agency with 150 sworn, as compared to traditional simulator costs.

Since Axon VR Training is easily deployed and transported to any location where training is taking place, be that a dedicated facility or the roll-call room, it can help make better use of this time. Instead of officers waiting for their active training time, they can learn in 5- to 15-minute segments on topics that help build practical and interpersonal skills, and that they otherwise may not be exposed to in traditional curriculum. Repurposing even a small portion of unproductive training hours translates into actual agency savings.

*Based on estimate of 1.5 downtime hours per officer repurposed for VR training; may vary by agency

Other benefits such as better retention and confidence in skills can also translate into more prepared officers who lower the agency’s risk of a misconduct issue. Additionally, research shows that spaced repetition promotes effective learning, so VR’s low time commitment and easy setup means it can become a regular part of existing operations with more frequent use.


Law enforcement is increasingly being asked to train more, but one way to accomplish this is to train smarter. VR can significantly accelerate agency training programs, and Axon is just getting started. Our vision is to make training widely available, applicable, engaging and adaptable. Combined with other technologies in the Axon network, from the e-learning platform Axon Academy to TASER energy weapons, Axon VR Training develops higher-performing officers with dynamic experiences that enhance performance, critical thinking, and de-escalation skills—promoting mutually-beneficial outcomes for officers and the community they serve.

For more information, contact your Axon sales rep or visit