ABC 36 members participate in Firearms Training Simulator

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JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — With so much focus right now on race and policing you may be wondering how police are trained.

We got to see a small part of it – a training simulator Jessamine County law enforcement get to use once a year.

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It’s a scenario-based training. Some of the scenarios we faced were a disgruntled employee shooting up his workplace or a man with a knife coming towards us.

It was hard and very intense.

“Each officer in our agency goes through this once a year in an effort to make them better officers,” says Sergeant Kevin Grimes with the Nicholasville Police Department.

The Kentucky League of Cities has three of the Firearm Training Simulator systems. Law enforcement agencies like Nicholasville Police get a specific amount of time with the system to train all their officers. But departments aren’t required to do the training.

“I’s about as close to realistic as you can get putting officers in hands-on situations that are scenario-based where they have to make decisions,” says Grimes.

Officers will have to talk to the virtual suspects or victims, perform a traffic stop – they might have to escort an elderly person with dementia back home or try to talk down someone suicidal.

But some scenarios just require an officer to react with a gun drawn like a shooting at a movie theater.

The scenarios were so realistic and afterwards, the instructor would give critiques.

“The other thing we’ve been able to do is offer it to people like you, offer it to the media, offer it to our citizens police academy, our politicians because we think it’s important they get to experience a little of what officers go through everyday,” says Sgt. Grimes.

He says that’s especially important to do right now when there’s a lot of attention on police and use of force.

“It’s easy for people to second guess what goes on out there,” says Grimes. “I mean everybody does it.”

How terrible we were at being cops showed us just how hard their jobs truly are. Running towards danger is no task for the weak-hearted.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.