BCSO offers a chance to walk in their shoes through Citizen’s Police Academy

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Starting on October 1, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office is offering a Citizen’s Police Academy offering a look at what law enforcement officers face daily.

News 13 got a sneak peek of the training on Wednesday and went through ‘Use of Force Simulator Training.’

“It is a use of force simulator that allows us to play scenarios, having a deputy utilize different levels of force as they need to handle the situation, whatever is on the screen,” said Lieutenant James Vestal of the Sheriff’s Office Training Division.

The office works with a company called Ti Training who have developed over 80 different scenarios in all types of settings.

“Patrol type settings, courtroom settings, school grounds, churches so they try to cover a large area of places where things could happen,” Vestal said.

All of the weapons used in the training were previously taken out of service. Ti Training uses recoil kits to take these weapons and put in place the equipment that makes them function with the CO2 and attach lasers to them so they work with the simulator.

Vestal says the goal of the training is to make it as realistic as possible and as safe as possible.

“We have to make those decisions in a split second. If we feel like we’re in danger or someone else is in danger and to allow the public to be apart of that and get that experience and stand in our shoes for at least 30 seconds during a scenario is priceless,” Vestal said.

The focus of the academy is to give citizens a taste of what it’s like to be in uniform.

“It’ll give them an idea of what law enforcement has to deal with every day and how fast you have to make those decisions are based on movement, based on motion, based on what you already think is going to happen,” Vestal said.

The academy will also offer a look into the bomb squad, dive team, SWAT, K9, and Air Unit.

The classes start on Tuesday, October 1 and will run every Tuesday until on November 2.

If you want to go through the Citizen’s Academy, call the sheriff’s office at (850)747-4700 and ask for Ms. Peggy MacDonald. Seating is limited, so call ASAP.

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