One split decision could change everything when it comes to law enforcement.
A Jefferson County teen got the chance to train as a police officer, learning how to deal with dangerous situations.
“You are always responding to whatever they are doing, you are responding to their actions and so they always have the jump on you,” Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn said. “Even you are prepared for danger, sometimes it is very, very fast and you have to be able to make those split-second decisions about what tool you need for what situation and this simulator provides a great way to do it in a safe environment.”
A small-town county sheriff and a 16-year-old teenager interested in law enforcement led to virtual training.
“I have kind of always wanted to be a police officer,” said 16-year-old Madras teen Johan Poland. “I like it. I have a strong sense of justice.”
“I invited Johan to come down here and we did a one-on-one session,” Heckathorn said. “We ran him through probably a dozen scenarios, different types.”
Scenarios through a “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” law enforcement simulator.
“If you pull out a gun, even if you don’t discharge it,” Heckathorn said. “Why did you pull out that firearm, what made you do that and check all of the boxes, cause anytime we do any type of force it is extremely important that it is justified and that is why we are constantly training on it.”
The two also went on a police car ride along.
“When I was his age, I got to go on some ride alongs,” Heckathorn added. “I thought it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, going out and making, pulling people over and responding to calls. So I wanted to give a little of that back.”
“I think we just need to have a better overview of police in the youth these days,” Poland said. “With everything that has been going on, it hasn’t been that great, so I hope I can help others see the good in police officers.”
Poland hopes to study criminology in college after he graduates high school.