California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 22

an extensive lecture and “hands-on” time using the department’s training simulator where participants assume the role of an officer. Participants are instructed to respond to the best of their abilities utilizing the information taught in the lecture. Each scenario is debriefed in the same manner law enforcement professionals are debriefed when they take the training. Tactics are not discussed so as to not compromise another officer’s safety by disclosing such information in an open forum to individuals who have not been vetted. We have found that citizens understand and appreciate this perspective. It is stressed that the purpose behind the class is to shed light on the decision-making process regarding the use of force a law enforcement officer is routinely faced with. The scenarios are limited to “shoot, don’t shoot” events. We have found that if we try to incorporate other tools available to law enforcement in use-of-force situations, it is simply too much to ask of a citizen who does not have the training of a law enforcement officer. Participants in the scenarios are “debriefed” and asked to justify their actions in a facilitated format based on case law, policy and the penal code just like an officer would have to. Those who do partake of the simulator get to experience first-hand the physiological, physical and emotional challenges any human being is subjected to while having to respond in a high-stress environment involving the use of force. The insight the participants gain, which they can then provide to the other citizens in the community, is invaluable. Other participants who are observing the scenario unfold are asked at the conclusion to assume the role of a witness. The experience has been very enlightening to the groups as they discover firsthand how difficult it is to provide an accurate description of what they just observed. The insights the citizens have gleaned from the training have been nothing short of incredible. We have found that when provided with accurate information, participants will more often than not respond to the scenarios in a manner consistent with law enforcement officers. Those participants who “witness” a scenario can 22 California Police Chief | www.californiapolicechiefs.org apply appropriate case law, penal code and department policy in an accurate manner to explain an outcome that was either objectively reasonable or not objectively reasonable. The groups that have taken advantage of this Return to proactive patrolli