Warner Robins community leaders step into police officers’ shoes
Participants took part in several scenarios in Warner Robins all thanks to a high-tech simulator, they say felt real.
“You could literally feel the stress. I was in here sweating,” Troy Wynn, the pastor with Freedom Church, said.
“It builds up your blood pressure. You get excited, you sweat,” John Clay, the training commander of the simulator, said.
Police Officers wanted to giver leaders including city councilmen, the school district’s superintendent, and even a pastor a chance to see and react to high pressured situations.
“I really think this helps there judgement and gives us the quality police department that we have,” Councilman Mike Davis said.
It’s training each officer on staff does at least once a year.
“Depending on how the officer is handling the situation, his verbal skills things like that, then we can actually escalate or deescalate a situation,” Clay said.
Equipped with a fake gun, pepper spray, and a taser — each person finished the simulator with the same message.
“Today I just was reminded of how difficult their job is on a day-to-day basis,” Wynn said.
As officers continue to try and mend relationships in communities across the nation, coordinators say the $121,000 investment into the simulator is necessary moving forward.
“They have something to go back and lean on as far as making that decision,” Dr. Mark Scott, superintendent of Houston County Schools said.
“It gives the officers a wide range of experiences that they can take with them and apply out on the street,” Clay said.
“We should not be as quick to judge these situations when they occur because if you’re not there on the scene going through it, you really don’t know what happened,” Wynn said.
It’s a level of transparency the Warner Robins Police Department wants to maintain.
“Lets swap shoes so that we could have a better understanding of what everybody is dealing with,” Wynn said.
WRPD purchased the simulator in 2011 with grant money. Officers say its helped their judgement while on the job.