Shoot or don’t shoot: BTB writers go behind the gun in split-second scenarios


There’s a guy with a machete threatening kids at a playground, what do you do?

How do you handle the man in the courtyard of an apartment complex who was just beating his wife? He has something in his hand. A gun? Maybe it’s a cell phone.

Shoot or don’t shoot?

It’s not as easy as it sounds, and the writers at now know that first-hand.

Trainers from the Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center invited @BTB_OC to try its Force Option Simulator — a program that trains law enforcement officers and recruits to hone their split-second, decision-making skills.

It’s high-tech and highly effective.

There are 13 stations and countless scenarios in which recruits can develop their critical decision-making ability.

Recruits are asked to approach the simulator as if it is real life, because that is the only way to reap the benefits of such training.

Instructors can manipulate scenarios and present a variety of situations from felony traffic stops, to domestic violence calls, to a suspect threatening suicide.

Both scenarios at the beginning of this story were presented to writers Greg Hardesty and Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, who visited the training center on a recent Friday with @BTB_OC law enforcement consultant Ross Nemeroff.

In both situations, people died because Hardesty and Fletcher did not act quickly enough.

In a post-Ferguson climate where a law enforcement officer’s every move is being scruitinized, criticized and judged with 20/20 hindsight, the Force Option Simulator puts into context just how difficult split-second decisions are.

The exercise helped Hardesty and Fletcher earn a greater understanding of the pressure law enforcement officers face every day on the job.

Take a look.