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Smiling teenager wearing a VR headset, two amused cops look on

Using Virtual Reality to Help Police and Young New Yorkers Explore their Best 'Options'

NYPD is now offering an innovative, new program called Options. It harnesses modern technology and builds on the fundamentals of Neighborhood Policing to help young New Yorkers deal with and overcome specific challenges they may face growing up in our modern, urban environment.

Made possible with the support of the New York City Police Foundation, Options uses cutting edge virtual reality technology to illustrate the link between positive interactions and beneficial outcomes — and better options for everyone. The curriculum develops emotional intelligence, emphasizes de-escalation, and features virtual reality-based scenarios designed to simulate real-life encounters. Its target audience is middle and high school-age New Yorkers.

The Options program is administered in three one-hour sessions and can be hosted by schools, faith based organizations or by other community-based groups. During the program's final phase, participants are equipped with virtual reality goggles and undergo simulations where they may be asked to join a gang or commit a crime, or are stopped by the police. Participants may also experience a police stop from an officer's perspective.

The technology used in the program provides the most realistic and immersive experience in department history. It was developed by the NYPD and Street Smarts VR, with funding and curriculum development assistance from the New York City Police Foundation.

For more information about the Options program, contact your local Neighborhood Coordination Officer. You can use our interactive map to find your precinct, sector, and Neighborhood Coordination Officers. You can also visit your precinct's webpage to find contact information for your Community Affairs Officers.