U.S. Secret Service Implementing Video Training

Table-top exercises will be abandoned in favor of computer game training.
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Table-top exercises have been a staple of law enforcement training for decades, but this Spring the U.S. Secret Service will abandon that training tool in favor of computer game training.

For the past 40 years, Secret Service agents have been using a miniature model environment called "Tiny Town" to play out their response to suicide bombers, bio warfare attacks, and other serious situations. This spring, it will be replaced by the Site Security Planning Tool (SSPT), also known as "Virtual Tiny Town," video game-like environment with 3D models, smoke and chemical plume simulators, and in general, more interaction, as trainees will be able to see and move around the world in both first- and third-person perspectives.

Three 55-inch touch-screen kiosks will serve as the interface when the system launches at the Secret Service's James J. Rowley Training Center near Washington, D.C. The set-up connects to a computer running Virtual Battle Space (VBS2), which serves as the base simulation game.

The kiosks can accommodate a team of up to four students, and each kiosk’s synthetic environment, along with the team’s crafted site security plan, can be displayed on a large wall-mounted LED 3D TV monitor for conducting class briefings and demonstrating simulated security challenges.

In addition to training new recruits, SSPT can also provide in-service protective details with advanced training on a range of scenarios, including preparation against chemical, biological or radiological attacks, armed assaults, suicide bombers and other threats.

Future enhancements to SSPT will include modeling the resulting health effects and crowd behaviors of a chemical, radiological or biological attack, to better prepare personnel for a more comprehensive array of scenarios and the necessary life-saving actions required to protect dignitaries and the public alike.