Aptima Brings Military-grade Training to Orlando Police Department
SPOTLITE BLUE helps Instructors capture and deliver feedback to improve officer skills
When the Orlando Police Department (OPD) wanted to improve its officer refresher and new recruit training, it found Aptima’s SPOTLITE® an ideal training tool. Originally developed for the US military, SPOTLITE is a software program that runs on computers and mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, that allows instructors to easily record video, tag actions, and rate trainee performance during live training exercises.
Responding to domestic violence calls places police officers in high risk situations. Officers enter a building or house they are unfamiliar with and are often met with agitated subjects who may be armed. Charged to ensure the safety of every person involved, officers must carefully search the area, conduct a risk assessment, and employ appropriate techniques to restore order (e.g., securing weapons, de-escalation, investigation, etc.). A recent study found that 58 percent of domestic violence arrests required police officers to seize firearms,1 which makes building search tactics an essential skill for police and community safety. Police officers train for these types of scenarios by recreating these dimly lit spaces with live actors. Traditionally this is trained by having an instructor present, however, it can diminish the realism of the exercise, while also forcing the instructors to rely on mental notations for trainee feedback afterwards.
To address those issues, Aptima and OPD collaborated to develop a solution geared specifically for law enforcement. The military version of the SPOTLITE software was reconfigured for multi-camera operation, skill assessment menus were adapted, additional real-time analyses were added to support debriefs, and SPOTLITE BLUE was created. The software runs on a laptop linked to several video cameras with night vision placed throughout the rooms and hallways of OPD’s mock-residence training facility. From a remote location, Instructors can now capture and rate the full range of trainee behaviors as trainees move from room to room, flagging and rating their skills without interfering with the exercise itself. In the debrief afterwards, Instructors reviewed trainee performance, pulling up and replaying the flagged behaviors captured on video.
“With SPOTLITE we can provide objective feedback, showing trainees exactly what they did, where performance didn’t meet the standards, and what they needed to do to improve,” said Janet Spruill, Aptima’s Vice President of Programs. “Without relying on subjective recall and the ‘he said, she said’ of conflicting accounts, instructors are able to review all those critical behaviors and point out where they needed to perhaps better cover and protect themselves, work as a team, or de-escalate a situation.”
SPOTLITE BLUE also supports longer term, and broader needs beyond the immediate moment. By capturing and storing training assessment data, instructors can compare and trend the skills of individual officers and teams over time, and across groups. “Police instructors are expert officers, not necessarily technologists. With SPOTLITE BLUE, they are able from day one to help improve officer skills and safety,” add Spruill.
It is not a coincidence that Aptima has offices in Orlando. Regarded as the worldwide capital of modeling, training, and simulation, Orlando provides companies like Aptima a rich ecosystem, which includes academia and military, to research and develop innovative training technologies. Throughout the Department of Defense, Instructors use SPOTLITE to train fighter pilots, Marine Corps Small Units, Army Recon, and other Warfighters.
“Being located here in Orlando is more than just good business for us,” said Spruill. “We feel strongly about being a part of the community, and we appreciate the sacrifices made every day by the law enforcement officers serving here in our community. Knowing how valuable SPOTLITE can be to address current training challenges and improve officer performance and safety, we wanted to give back to our local Orlando police department.”