DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — 2020 has been tough for several law enforcement agencies following outrage over police brutality around the country.
Our local police departments haven’t been immune. WDHN was invited to a one-on-one simulation training to learn just how difficult an officer’s job can be when facing a life or death situation.
Police have to deal with difficult situations like reacting to someone charging them with a knife.
While some will ask why doesn’t the officer shoot to wound or use a taser, in most cases, police say they don’t have the chance to.
“You got a call of a suspicious person that’s all you know,” Houston County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Bobby Hopkins said. “You got to make contact with this person we try to communicate, we try to see what’s going on, and then you react to whatever his action is.”
In situations where officers are trying to de-escalate a situation, they have moments to react to a potential attacker. Their job is to protect even if it means shooting the threat.
“That’s where everybody’s kind of, they’re just all, ‘well why didn’t he do this, and why didn’t he do that?'” Dothan Police Department Corporal Andy Davis said. “Monday morning quarterback, they’ve got all the time in the world to go and break it down. Why didn’t he do this, why didn’t he do that when you’ve only got you know a split second to make that decision.”
Some are quick to judge an officer’s actions in a threatening situation. However, once you experience a scenario, everything changes.
“It’s not an easy job, and you saw first hand today that it’s not easy,” said Jason Wright, executive coordinator of Wiregrass Public Safety Center. “But I think the citizens of Houston County can go to bed at night knowing that their public safety personnel are trained. They know what they’re doing. They know how to handle themselves. They know how to handle certain situations, and then when those situations do arise they know how to handle it because they’ve gone through training.”
The center is also open to the public to be able to defend and prepare themselves for different situations.