Taking training to the next level

Published 9:27 am Monday, May 2, 2022

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to change careers, but you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel; you just sort of wanted to test the waters?

Since beginning at The Post- Searchlight, I have thoroughly enjoyed covering crimes. Because our newsroom is so small, we are not considered beat reporters, but if I was required to have a beat, it would be crimes.

I have loved getting to know the investigators, reading the incident reports and formulating stories that convey every detail, as if the reader was there at the scene.

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I have enjoyed it so much that my curiosity has piqued several times, wondering if I should’ve gone into law enforcement or better, investigations.

I’ve won two awards for investigative journalism, so it would seem I have a knack for it.

Thursday, I had the opportunity to see just a sliver of what it would be like to work in law enforcement, as Chief Spooner and Lt. Ken Davidson allowed me time in the new simulator for officers in training.

Both Chief Spooner and Lt. Davidson were my instructors for the women’s shooting class, so they knew even if I couldn’t do anything else in the simulator, I could at least hold a gun.

The guns have no real bullets, they are filled with CO2 and leave a laser mark where you shoot.

They began the simulation with me standing in the center of the 300 degrees’ simulator and completing target shooting at various distances on a range.

I went after a real officer, who had six years on the job, so my score was poor in comparison to hers. I received only a lousy 30 percent. I was shooting too high, too low and wearing wedges.

Chief Spooner came back up on the platform and reminded me how to stand.

Things then began to improve.

Next, they had me in a simulation call.

E911 had received a tip about several teenagers drinking, who also had airsoft guns and were shooting at each other back in the woods.

I had to approach the scene and interact with the actors.

I told them the reason I was there, and just wanted to make sure they had a safe ride home. I was in the middle of asking their ages, when another man appeared to the left of me and I had to whip around. He was pointing his airsoft gun right at me.

He eventually got on the ground, though and put the gun down and gave me his ID.

For those curious, his name was Toby, and he was 23, providing alcohol to minors and driving them home intoxicated.

The next round was a whirlwind.

I stood in the center of the platform again as different men and women appeared in front of me, behind me and to the side of me.

I had to make split-second decisions to see if they were just getting out their wallet, or drawing a weapon.

I reminded me eerily of The Hunger Games when Katniss had to shoot her bow and arrow during evaluations. People were coming at her from every angle, but she just knocked them down, one by one.

The simulation I was facing had actors with knives, guns and one man was even wearing an explosive strapped to his chest.

My final scene was at an ATM. I was waiting in line, when a man came up and drew a knife on another woman. I had to fire at him, but then his friend, who was driving the car started shooting at me.

I was too late to notice him on my left and too focused on the main suspect. I would’ve died in the real-life version.

I learned a lot during the simulations and even more talking to Chief Spooner and Lt. Davidson after it was all over.

I don’t know if I’m cut out for law enforcement, but I know now how hyper vigilant they have to be. They truly have to scan the whole area of anywhere they go; someone could always be lurking in the shadows.

I applaud our men and women in blue, because as I can see, this job takes a lot of training, a lot of split-second decision making and a whole lot of strength.

I’m not completely ruling out the career, but I’ll stay where I’m at for now and hope that they let me use the simulator again soon.