SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Georgetown Police Department is hosting its annual Citizens Police Academy -- an up-close look at what officers experience every day. Officers say this training is a great way to connect with the community and for the community to understand their roles.
One participant - a former military officer and a former police officer - sees the value of this experience.
That former officer, Scott Hill, says, "I think so many people have stereotypes and ideas about the role of law enforcement in America. And what better way for citizens of the community to walk a mile in somebody's shoes."
This department gets access to the Ti Firearms System. A simulator that walks users through interactions an officer might see on the job some are even real situations officers have faced.
The case of weapons in the photo above contains real guns and tasers that have been altered for the simulation. The weight, feel, and kick when firing the weapons can still be felt.
While former officers like Hill are more familiar with firearms, most of the Citizen's Academy Participants are not. Georgetown officers say that there are hundreds of scenarios that the simulation can run through helping them get better out in the field and teaching citizens what they experience.
Captain Josh Nash says, "I think their mindsets change. We have used this a lot not just with the CPA, but we've used it with Georgetown College, we've used it with our city council members, we've used it with anybody in the community that's wanted to do it. We actually allowed people to come in and experience that."
Things can change in an instant. Some simulations use guns, and some use tasers. Like in real life, situations can escalate and require a weapon but can also deescalate where no force is needed at all.
This 12-week Citizens Police Academy also teaches about traffic stops, special response teams, court proceedings, and more.
"...to make the citizens more aware of what's going on behind the scenes and what it actually takes to be a police officer, to serve in this community," Hill said.
Participants are getting a different point of view. The simulator is at the Georgetown Police Department for a while and will travel on to other departments in the area.