Government, civic leaders walk in law enforcement shoes for a few minutes

Community leaders learn slow reactions on emergency responses can be fatal for law enforcement.

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office gave community leaders an up close and personal experience doing what they do every day.  NewsChannel 6 witnessed how deputies are trained before they hit the streets utilizing a computerized police call simulator. Situations such as traffic stops, domestic disputes and active shooter situations are all scenarios that are part of a law enforcement officer’s training.  The job can be tough. Thursday, others saw the work that goes into responding to a call.

We pick up the phone and make the 911 calls, but how does an officer actually feel when he or she arrives to the scene of that call knowing very little information with a lot of danger at stake.  Well, some CSRA leaders now know the answer to that question after playing out real live scenarios.

“Drop your gun.  Drop your gun,” said Robert Osborne, who works for South State Bank by day.

He was one of several CSRA leaders trying to understand police work.

Osborne told us, “It just makes you realize how many things they have to think about in a split second.”

And a split second is all Osborn had when his simulation put him at a traffic stop.

Driver in simulation:

“Leave me alone. Let me go to work or I’m going to be in so much trouble.”

Shots fired and Osborn would have been killed.

Osborn works at South State Bank during the day and said knowing when to pull a trigger and when not to is something he was clueless about.

“I should have asked for her to put her hands on the wheel so I could have seen her hands because if she had a gun I would have seen it at that point, but I wasn’t thinking about a gun,” he said.

NAACP President Beulah Nash-Teachey just missed the mark on an active school shooting situation.  In an attempt to rescue students, she did not see a gunman coming from another classroom.  If it were real life the shot she attempted to make back would have not happened.

The new MILO Range System gives officers and others hundreds of different scenarios to experience, such as domestic disputes.

Corporal Joseph Scarlett, with the sheriff’s office, helped to run the system during the event.

“We also have the ability to change the scenario in real time so that, say a suspect may pull a gun and if you give him verbal commands, he may ignore you and shoot you or he may do what you say and put the gun on the ground.  So, officers have to react in different ways,” he said.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree watched as each volunteer tried to de-escalate a situation.

“Some people reacted slower than others, which ultimately would have cost them their lives if they were in the street,” he shared.   “We want people to understand that officers are people first and they put on a uniform to become police officers and to go out and protect the public.  But they still have emotions, they have feelings, they have families.  And that family expects them to come home every night.”

He said he hopes people understand the decisions and hard work that goes into policing the CSRA. And despite the national conversation on police response, the job is not easy and sometimes requires good pay to keep staffing levels where they need to be.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re fighting so hard for our pay increases now to let them know what these officers go through and that it’s well deserved.”

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