Cal State Fullerton University Police is bringing a “Force Options Shoot/Don’t Shoot Simulator Exercise” to campus for students and faculty to test their split-second decision-making skills.
The simulation allows University Police to put attendees into simulations of some of the dangerous situations that officers face on the job. It is intended to test a person’s aptitude to make split-second decisions while still taking police protocol into account.
“All we’re trying to do is put people in a situation where they get a taste of what we’re faced with as police officers,” said University Police Capt. Scot Willey. “We’re human beings, we make mistakes, we’re put in impossible situations sometimes where we have to make split-second decisions.”
Attendees are given a short tour of the building and training on legal considerations that can arise during a possible “use-of-force situation.”
The simulation requires two people per simulation and begins with a basic run-through of weapon handling and safety. There is both a pistol and a taser available to use at each person’s discretion. Each person is then put through a scenario picked by the officers running the program.
A virtual sequence of events is filmed by actors and the participant is meant to speak to the people on screen as if they were really there. The officer controlling the simulator inputs participants’ commands and actions and tracks the accuracy of the shots that are fired.
“What (an officer) decides may be wrong, may be right, (but) it’s going to be judged instantly by others through social media, through the media, the courts and federal courts,” Willey said.
Willey said the chancellor’s office wanted to begin bringing in more training for police officers. Several simulators were purchased by the state of California and are available for all Cal State police departments to use.
University Police started a program called “EPIC” (Empowering a Positive and Interactive Community) and the simulation is one of many events that the program is responsible for at CSUF.
“We hope that this is kind of a big hit with everybody; it really opens up some good discussions between us and our community,” Willey said.
The simulation is held in the University Police Department building and is free for those who sign up. Students and faculty can sign up for the event in the University Police Department building or by signing up online through EventBrite. The event will run from May 2 to May 12.