Monroe considering a virtual use-of-force training system for police

Monroe City Council will consider entering a lease agreement to purchase a virtual training system for the new police facility on South Main Street.

City Manager William Brock said leasing the virtual training system would cost $45,117 per year plus $9,270 for the initial set-up, installation and training fee. An indoor firing range would cost more than $700,000

In his report, Brock said officials hoped to offer training at development at the new facility to reduce travelling for training, for which the city spends between $75,000 and $100,000. Chief Bob Buchanan said there are no similar training systems in the area, and leasing it would allow Monroe to host training sessions for other departments.

Police officials said they evaluated the VirTra training system two years ago and determined it could provide the best use of force and de-escalation training and decision-making environment for officers.

The five-screen immersion training system gives officers a 300-degree view of scenarios to decide when to use their service weapons or non-lethal weapons such as Tasers and pepper spray. The system can record real environments within the city to allow officers to be in a virtual representation as a school or local business.

Leasing the system annually would allow the city to save about $50,000 over five years as well as the flexibility of dropping or changing if it does not provide the best training value. Bond funds for the new facility will be used of the costs for the system.

Monroe approves pact with West Chester Twp. for combined SWAT team

At council’s May 12 meeting, council approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and West Chester Twp. to provide for a combined Crisis Response Unit for tactical operations during high risk situations.

Each city would combine their teams to respond to situations in both communities such as barricaded suspects, hostage situations, high-risk warrant service, terrorism response and dignitary protection.

Each agency will be responsible for the salaries and compensation of their respective employees, including overtime for twice monthly training and team deployments. Monroe will also provide $12,000 per year to West Chester police for citywide tactical team response coverage and to assist in covering costs.

Monroe police will be able to supply up to six officers for the team.

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