LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Representatives of a private security company in Las Vegas say they are the first in the nation to implement a virtual training system previously used exclusively by law enforcement and the US military. 

The security team at Protective Force International is using the bleeding-edge tech to train their teams on how to handle scenarios in ways that could save lives. One such situation involves reports of a dumpster diver. Demonstrating the training exercise is Lt. Randall Caldwell, who acts out the scenario.

“I need you to drop whatever is in your hand,” said Lt. Caldwell, holding his blue simulated firearm, an accessory in the program, speaking to the projected man on the screen.

Before starting their session, the team must switch their actual firearms out for the blue-hued equipment meant for training. | Photo: KLAS

Caldwell says the training provides access to scenarios he’s familiar with.

“You don’t know how the situation will play out — just like in the real world,” said Caldwell. 

VirTra is described as a law enforcement use-of-force training and uses simulators to prepare police for real-life incidents they may encounter on the streets. Now officials from Protective Force International say they will be using the simulators to train their security guards.

Lt. Randall Caldwell said VirTra allows for training to de-escalate situations in the heat of the moment. | Photo: KLAS

The VirTra system aims to help security guards prepare for those high-intensity scenarios in a low-risk environment.

“You have that opportunity to make those mistakes,” said Caldwell. “You have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes.

Jonathan Alvarez, the chief executive officer of Protective Force International, said that the rigorous process taken to obtain the VirTra system was a necessity. 

Trainees take on high-intensity situations, like an active-shooter scenario, while in a low-risk environment. | Photo: KLAS

“Our goal is to never take those extreme measures,” said Alvarez. “We want to answer every single call obviously with the most minimal amount of force possible and obviously de-escalate that situation verbally.” 

The system helps them train for a spectrum of calls, from the most straightforward to intense active shooter scenarios. Alvarez says the system cost approximately $35,000 and was funded by himself personally and his company.