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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

First Apex Officer virtual reality in Michigan comes to Jacobetti Complex

NMU Regional Police Department and Public Safety Institute gets an upgrade.
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Rachel Pott
APEX OFFICER — The VR simulation area in the Jacobetti Complex has plenty of space allowing trainees to safely participate in simulations.

Along with many departments in the Jacobetti Complex getting upgrades as a result of the new renovations, the Northern Michigan University Regional Police Academy and Public Safety Institute has received some new additions. One of these upgrades is the Apex Officer Virtual Reality (VR) Training Simulator. 

While there was previously a simulator in the department, it was not nearly as advanced and beneficial as this new system is. This VR training system is unique because it has a multitude of highly customizable real-life scenarios. 

“Our simulators prior to this were static screen scripted simulations. It was very limited,” said Lieutenant Kenneth Love in the Public Safety Institute/Police Academy. 

This new VR system allows students to experience real-life situations, such as how to respond to someone having a mental health crisis, a hostage situation, and even an active school shooter situation. Apex Officer allows students to become familiar with all sorts of scenarios, so they are better equipped to handle these situations on the job.  

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“We will bring [students] in and do maybe four scenarios, and only one might involve where they actually have to use force,” Love said. “The rest are all going to be communication. We will have two that are strictly talking.”

There is also a space to view the simulations on a TV so more students can watch and experience each scenario, even when they are not using the VR headset.  

In addition to this, Apex Officer also provides valuable feedback and analytics on each scenario. 

“You can record it and show the entire feedback and do playback. If the officer had to shoot in the simulation, it also breaks down how far away the person was, who fired first, if you got hit – a lot of valuable data,” Love said. 

Despite how advantageous this type of training is, Northern is the first place in the state of Michigan to have this brand of VR. 

However, Love believes that they will have officers and police stations from across the Upper Peninsula coming to use this VR system, and with the help of a new grant, this VR system will be able to become mobile.

“Every year we put in for a different grant to provide different training, some of which is actually on the road. So next year, we will take this system to different departments because there is a portable aspect to this system,” Love said. “We will go out on the road and do training.”

Currently, there are three people, including Love, trained to use this VR system and Love hopes to expand who is able to use this system.

“It will mainly be used by current law enforcement officers or recruits going into the police academy. We are eventually going to allow some criminal justice students,” Love said. 

Love also explained that this new VR system will be frequently implemented in teaching and training. 

“When the academy is going on and when we are doing in-service on-the-road training, we will do even more with the NMU police department. They will use it over Christmas break and in the summer,” Love said. 

In the future, Love hopes to make improvements and additions to the spaces being utilized for this new VR system and continue to expand training opportunities for both students and the community.

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About the Contributor
Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott, News Writer
I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college near my hometown, Charlevoix, Mi. In high school, I was a part of my school’s journalism program and helped to produce bi-weekly student newspapers. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, boating, fishing, and biking. I also love to work out, read, paint, and bake.