Public learns how Phoenix police officers decide to shoot, or not shoot

PHOENIX - Deciding whether to shoot or not is a challenge Arizona officers face everyday, and now regular people have a chance to experience those very same situations.

The Phoenix Police Department used the same simulator their officers practice with to let volunteer participants decide how they would react if they were a real member of the police force.

The advanced computer system put participants in scenarios such as domestic abuse calls, armed robberies, and more.

Actors played out the situations which were projected on to a screen. It was up to the participants to choose if, and when to fire their fake guns and kill the suspected bad guys in the video scenarios.

As many people found out, police have to make some pretty tough decisions.

The Phoenix Police Department let the public into the training sessions so the average citizens could gain a better understanding of the life and death choices officers have to struggle with.

Even though these were just simulations, it still felt pretty real, especially once the people on the projector screen started pointing guns at the participants. 

"Once the gun started to raise so did my heart rate," said participant and school teacher AJ Marsden.

"The first time I just froze, but then the second time, I needed to emotionally go through it, so I drew my gun, lined it up and shot."

Phoenix police invite the public to these types of training and information sessions to let the public know what it is their officers do.

If you would like to be involved in future training sessions and meetings, check with your local precinct , although you don't have to be a resident to attend.

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