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Profiler Driving Program Trains Police Officers To Perform Under Stressful Conditions

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CARY — Cary'sSAS Instituteand an expert on pursuit driving research are using computer technology to train police officers and others to perform more safely under stress. TheNorth Carolina Highway Patrolworked closely on the development of a program calledProfiler.

When police, firemen or ambulance crews respond at high speed, they are under extreme stress. They often concentrate only on what is in front of them, a form of tunnel vision. Profiler trains drivers to scan their surroundings and assesses their progress.

"This product provides databased feedback on how to continue scanning when events become overwhelming," says Dr. Kenneth Mills, who developed the program. "They'll look straight ahead and just focus on the car in front of them. The tasks are the same for a professional driver and for anybody else."

Congressman David Price got a look at Profiler by taking the test himself.

"You get to a baseline evaluation of one's reactions and one's driving abilities and you could train and measure progress," Price says.

Original funding came from theNational Institutes of Health. Virtual reality technology developed for computer games makes Profiler realistic.

"What we've done is to take that technology and re-apply it into a business environment and to a social environment using high technology to save lives," says Daniel Wright ofSouthpeak Interactive.

Profiler is being used by 30 agencies around the country and could be used for driver's training in schools. It is much less expensive than other driving simulators. Cost is based on a per test basis.