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Using Advanced Simulation Training to Reduce Unconscious Bias

We have all learned biases. They arise from our upbringing, education, various individual experiences, and the threats encountered during our lived experiences. In many cases, this learning process helps keep us safe: an over-enthusiastic child bitten by a dog grows into an adult who is cautious around unknown animals.

Unfortunately, this natural process also creates unconscious, implicit biases that distort our interactions and can result in unbalanced policing that increases vulnerability in the communities we are pledged to protect.

Community policing in the modern era demands emotionally intelligent and resilient police officers. In turbulent times, a reactive and politicized media environment can make it increasingly difficult for officers in the field to develop and maintain soft skills, cultural literacy, and open communication in their communities. MILO’s Counter Bias Training Simulation (CBTSim™) is designed to counteract this trend. These evidence-based training solutions improve officer awareness and responsiveness, helping agencies build bridges over treacherous terrain.

Reduce Policing Disparities with a Better Approach to Implicit Bias Training

In recent years, some have questioned the value of implicit bias training. A prominent NYPD study found that while classroom/lecture-based unconscious bias training successfully raised police officer awareness of disparities in law enforcement and their own internal biases, it often appeared to have no measurable impact on community interactions.

CBTSim has proven to be different. According to a 2017 Washington State University study funded by the National Institute of Justice, police officers who completed CBTSim sessions as part of an implicit and counter-bias training intervention were less likely to rely on stereotypes and more likely to “engage in positive behaviors” that resulted in better community policing. More importantly, researchers could confirm improved police-community relations. In the six months following the CBTSim intervention, discrimination-based complaints against officers dropped in the implicit and CBTSim training group by 50%, compared to a control group that did not receive training.

While awareness of implicit bias is the first step, effective counter-bias training is the next step, helping us move toward building positive police-community relationships, ultimately ensuring that every interaction can be safer, more productive, and bias-free. MILO’s simulation-based training tools have positively impacted police-community interactions, resulting in better decision-making in split-second interactions.

MILO simulators are designed to help your agency accomplish its most challenging and complex training tasks. That includes addressing and reducing implicit bias. In this flexible, scalable, and immersive learner-centric environment, law enforcement can practice different techniques, and instructors can create tailored lessons to ensure agency-specific learning objectives are met as they continue to evolve.

Trainee-Centered Implicit Bias Training

CBTSim™ Counter-Bias Training Simulation is MILO’s most advanced evidence-based training solution yet. It is an award-winning bias reduction solution based on over a decade of Department of Justice grant-funded research at the University of Washington. With a combination of evidence-based curriculum and the immersive power of MILO technology, officers are presented with a diverse range of scenarios in which they are required to interact, de-escalate, make split-second decisions, then identify why they made those decisions. The goal of CBTSim is for police officers to reduce law enforcement disparities by helping officers become aware of unconscious bias, stay situationally aware, and shift to making decisions based on threat cues alone—and not on citizen characteristics like demographics or socio-economic status.

The self-reflective debrief following each scenario allows officers to recognize and address any biases they may have in a non-judgmental way. Simultaneously, presenting officers with scenarios in which citizen characteristics are not predictably related to whether or not force is required counters any stereotyping officers may employ.

Former and active law enforcement officers and PhD-level industry researchers guide the development and production process for all of our simulation scenarios. These reflect evidence-based, real-world situations and incidents that can occur in your communities—not caricatures drawn from a politicized worldview.

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Using MILO Immersive Scenarios for Implicit Bias Reduction

MILO systems are built as a holistic training solution, informed by the latest cognitive science and best practices, to offer flexible, non-linear training opportunities that each agency can adapt to every individual. These immersive simulation solutions create unlimited opportunities for officers and instructors to identify and address implicit biases in a safe, structured environment where potential conflicts and disparities can be identified and resolved. Officers will hone their situational awareness while pinpointing each and every opportunity for better communication and effective de-escalation.

Each MILO simulation scenario is instructor-controlled, with full audio/video capture and advanced logging, debriefing, and scenario developmental tools. The simulator hardware creates an immersive, sensory-rich environment that triggers real and vivid emotional responses. Every scenario is interactive and can be made more intense and challenging (or eased off) at any time, either before beginning the scenario or while running it.

The included scenarios have been crafted to enhance cross-cultural communication and raise your trainee’s awareness of the appearance of possible implicit biases before these become an issue in the field. MILO simulators include a library of hundreds of unique, immersive role-playing scenarios. These vividly illustrate the diversity of American lifestyles, situations, and communication styles. They feature a wide range of culturally and situationally appropriate actors in terms of ages, races, genders, abilities, socio-economic status, and cultural heritage.

MILO’s trainee-centered after-action debriefing process actively engages officers in mining each session for every teachable moment and opportunity for reflection. Trainees learn by seeing how they appear on camera and how their decision will look after the fact. There is no better way to prepare a police officer to work in the fishbowl of modern law enforcement.



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Simulation-based Training Solution for Impartial Policing

We don’t just sell equipment; we partner with agencies and their instructors to provide an ideal tool for modern police training and cultural awareness.

We invest time in understanding your needs and policies upfront, then work closely with your team to deliver the appropriate implicit bias training solution. We’ll help you find the best way to integrate this custom solution into your training procedures and support you in maintaining and evolving this solution as your policies, challenges, and communities inevitably change over time.


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Related Product: CBTSim

The goal of CBTsim is for officers to treat citizens fairly and free of bias, and to make any use-of-force decisions based on threat cues alone, not on citizen characteristics like demographics or socio-economic status