Virtual reality crime scene training

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Virtual reality crime scene now available to state and local law enforcement professionals

National Forensic Science Technology Center, NFSTC, University of Tennessee National Forensic Academy, NFA, Investigator-Virtual Reality training program

A new, cutting-edge training tool for the justice community is now available from the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), in partnership with the University of Tennessee (UT) National Forensic Academy (NFA). The Investigator-Virtual Reality training program, developed by the NFSTC, allows participants to work with a virtual instructor to learn how to use the virtual tools, processes, and skills essential to crime scene management and evidence detection. After completing the virtual lessons, they can use the techniques presented to take on the role of a virtual crime scene investigator—collecting evidence and documenting a virtual crime scene.

“Virtual reality training provides all the benefits of online training—on-demand convenience, unlimited class size, and elimination of travel or instructor costs—in an immersive environment that simulates the real world,” said Danny Nichols, technology services manager with NFSTC who led the development team.

To develop this online training, NFSTC worked with UT’s subject-matter experts to transform their instructor-led crime scene investigation curriculum into an online program, then brought in a leading gaming software development company to build the simulations that allow the participant to put theory into practice in a virtual crime scene.

“With the popularity of virtual reality video games, we worked with NFSTC to create a training tool that appeals to younger law enforcement personnel,” said Don Green, executive director of the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center. “The training takes participants through several crime scenes and teaches them various investigative techniques.”

Funded by the National Institute of Justice, the training is targeted toward entry-level law enforcement personnel who may want to become crime scene investigators or forensic practitioners. Topics covered include crime scene management, photography, latent print processing, and DNA collection. Click here for more information.

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