NewsNovember 17, 2022
Schenectady Police Department Using VR De-escalation Training Tool Made by Local Company Catapult Games
Catapult Games announced that their VR de-escalation training tool VRPD is going to be used by the Schenectady Police Department. Catapult’s CEO Dane Jennings was joined on stage by Schenectady PD Chief Eric Cliﬀord, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. Santabarbara stated that he will be providing State funding to allow Schenectady to use VRPD for two years.
Jennings shared that VRPD is the ﬁrst VR de-escalation training developed from the ground up with community input as well as police insight. Catapult has held 6 Community Conversations around de-escalation moderated by Jason Benitez, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Capital Region Chamber and Dr. Veneilya Harden, Vice Chair of the Albany Community Police Review Board with assistance of co-organizers William Rivas and Cheryl Vallee.
Jennings stated that de-escalation training leads to reduced uses of force as well as less civilian complaints and lawsuits. He hopes that VRPD will help increase trust between police and civilians to reduce harm and save lives. In the next couple years, Catapult plans to bring VRPD to other police departments around the Capital Region, the state, and the country.