Lexington County Sheriff’s Department tests new public safety technology

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)—Deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department experienced some of the latest technology in public safety.

Organized by technology company Axon, the roadshow allowed law enforcement to experience interactive product demonstrations.

The virtual reality training provided deputies with detailed scenarios on how to exhibit more compassion and empathy during interactions, provided de-escalation tactics, and provided virtual reality scenarios with people experiencing mental illness.

Capt. Adam Myrick with LCSD sees the new virtual reality training as a victory for law enforcement and the community.

“Some of the training simulations here that are part of the roadshow are important because they show different members of our community. Those with special needs and those with mental health issues that sometimes come to the surface and lead us to respond to certain places. So having that training is important because it teaches officers and equips us on how to better engage with them, how to interact with them and interact with their family members as well,” says Capt. Myrick.

A virtual reality scenario allows officers to interact with a person who has autism. The program then allows the officer to virtually trade places and experience the point of view of the person with autism while speaking with someone in law enforcement.

“We want to make sure the public knows that we are helping officers recognize other triggers and other ways to de-escalate a situation. Many of our comments provide newer and much better scenarios for the officer to get the best possible education,” says Ruben Leal, Axon Roadshow coordinator.

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Thermal imaging drone technology was also on display. “This drone has the ability to zoom in from far distances. So it’s really good if they’re trying to follow someone out in the open or maybe there’s a suspect barricaded in and they’re trying to survey the whole scene,” says Derek Dissorbo with Axon.

A Taser shooting range and body camera instruction was also available for law enforcement to try.

“Protecting the clearest truth by having body cameras with 4 microphones and a high definition camera. Having a full 180 view around you is as good as the human eye at seeing what’s going on around you so when we play it protects both the officer and the civilian. The point of this is to protect everyone in the picture and try to be all encompassing in the field of public safety,” says Andy Meaney, Axon Roadshow coordinator.

“That’s what today is about. Having that opportunity to see new technology that helps us better serve our community and also better interact and engage with our community,” says Capt. Myrick.

Meaney says that Axon will be visiting more than 90 law enforcement agencies on the East Coast in the coming months.

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