A look into police training and use of deadly force

Given the number of officer-involved shootings across the nation, this virtual reality training gives insight into the split-second decisions officers are required to make before making the decision to utilize deadly force.

There’s a raging national debate over the use of deadly force after several officer-involved shootings across the nation.

Would you shoot or not shoot?

It’s hard to know without being in the situation.

Law enforcement officers are utilizing high tech virtual training to make sure that when seconds count, officers are prepared to make, what could be, a life or death decision.

The FBI in Springfield invited Newschannel20 to get a rare look.

Dee Dee Gatton went through their virtual training and was put in various real-life shooting scenarios using a laser handgun.

The instructor chose from over 300 different virtual scenarios ranging from a routine traffic stop to an active shooter situation in a school or office building.

“You’re evaluating if you feel threatened,” said Sean Cox, Special Agent in Charge of the Springfield Division. “You have to shoot to stop the threat."

Standing in front of a virtual screen, Dee Dee was forced to respond to a man running at her with a knife. Acting as an officer, she perceived a threat and, in fractions of a second, made the decision to use her weapon. But it was too late. If this was a real scenario, she would have been killed.

"You have to account for every single bullet that leaves your weapon.”

Not just in the virtual setting, but in real life.

Craig King, Chief Division Counsel for the FBI-Springfield Division is quick to point out, “We’re not training how to shoot but when to shoot.”

This course, which is open to state and local law enforcement officers in Central and Southern Illinois, "Is getting them ready to understand the law and make sure they're applying it appropriately,” said Cox.

He’s referring to the Department of Justice’s Deadly Force policy.

While the training is not open to the public, through the FBI Springfield Citizens Academy, community members get an inside look at the FBI.

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