Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Virtual reality police training offers real-world experience at Lycoming College

Virtual reality police training offers real-world experience at Lycoming College

Download Image: Web

The Mansfield University Public Safety Training Institute (MUPSTI) paid a recent visit to Lycoming College to give the campus community a taste of scenarios faced by the police every day. Students, faculty, and staff were provided the opportunity try out state-of-the-art virtual reality technology to simulate life-like policing scenarios.

MUPSTI’s mobile virtual reality training, usually reserved for cadets and police officers, was made available to the Lycoming College community courtesy of the criminal justice-criminology department. The safe and immersive simulator covered communication and decision making, handling both routine and stressful calls for service, and de-escalation techniques.

Participants were also invited to engage MUPSTI representatives with questions, and encouraged to learn more about the Act 120 law enforcement certification requirements for Pennsylvania municipal and county police, employment opportunities, curriculum and timeline, how to apply, financial aid, and more.

“The police encounter challenging, stressful, and dangerous situations that require quick decision making. Training for these situations is difficult and requires officers to recognize that good policing requires communication and empathy. This virtual reality simulator is a great way for the police to practice those skills and for the public to understand the challenges of law enforcement. VR is a great tool for students intending to work in law enforcement or a criminal justice profession to put into practice the skills we emphasize in our courses,” said Justin Medina, Ph.D., assistant professor of criminal justice-criminology at Lycoming College. “I’m very appreciative of MUPSTI for taking the time to work with our department majors, as well as open up the experience to the entire campus.”

“The VR practice was a very good tool for students wanting to get into a criminal justice job. The instructor was very good about how we should or should not handle certain situations after we had been in a scenario,” said criminal justice major Gary Degroat ’24.

“As criminal justice students it is great to have experience in the field we want to go into. Having the Mansfield Public Safety Institute come to campus allowed us to see what it would look like if we wanted a career in law enforcement,” said criminal justice major Madison Wineburg ’23. “This was valuable experience that we can take into any job or career choice!”

Mansfield University’s Public Safety Training Institute is a regional training center providing initial and continuing professional education for criminal justice practitioners, first responders, public safety professionals, and the public. For more information, visit:

The criminal justice-criminology department at Lycoming College focuses on understanding the causes and responses to crime and victimization, and advocates for a more efficient, equitable, and fair system. Extensive hands-on opportunities, intimate class sizes, and interaction with local and national experts provides students with a deep understanding of criminological theory, research, and practice. More information is available at

Useful Resources