The Los Angeles Police Department has unveiled a new state-of-the-art training system at its recruit training center in Westchester that creates simulations of crime scenes, terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

The newly completed training platform known as “HYDRA” at the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center is one of only 50 models in the world and the first one implemented in the U.S., according to LAPD. The department and its regional law enforcement partners are now using the system along with the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the West Indies.

“Hydra allows us to pre-think scenarios and make the best decisions possible to mitigate the harm and risk to our region and community,” Deputy Chief Michael Downing, commanding officer of LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, explained. “It also provides the opportunity to strengthen and build upon our network of partners improving communication, decision making and resiliency.”

Police said the HYDRA can create simulations for every imaginable emergency or calamity, including complex crime-scenes, terrorist attacks, public disorder and natural disasters. The simulations provide law enforcement leadership teams the ability to develop their problem solving skills in a realistic and immersive environment, police said.

“HYDRA signals a paradigm shift in the way command officers will be trained.” said Sgt. Timothy Kalkus, officer in charge of LAPD’s HYDRA operations.

HYDRA was created by Dr. Jonathan Crego, then a professor of psychology at the University of Liverpool in England. The first HYDRA was built in 1996.

Funding for the local project was arranged by the Los Angeles Police Foundation with major backing from Target Corporation and the Annenberg Foundation.

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