PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — “There are only two types of law enforcement officers– trained or untrained,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant James Vestal said.
Bay County sheriff’s deputies face challenges every day.
They said there’s really no better way to prepare than by recreating real-life scenarios.
“We’ve got the videos. We take those videos and we dissect them down,” Vestal said. “We find any deficiencies in what officers did, any tactical advantages we can employ after that to make the outcome a safer and better scenario for us.”
When deputies pulled up to the scene, they were met by other deputies playing the roles of dispatchers, gunman, or agitators.
They respond in what they believe to be the most effective and legal way.
To make situations as realistic as possible deputies are using these simunition guns. They look like a Glock and have real bullets in them. The only difference is the bullets are filled with paint.
At one point multiple deputies went down while recreating the 2018 active shooter incident on Beck Avenue in Panama City.
“Around the country, barricaded subjects, armed subjects are getting more prevalent,” Lieutenant Andy Husar said. “So we need to train, we need to hone our skills, we need to get better at it not only to protect the civilians but also protect the responding officers, deputies, and troopers.”
Once the whistle is blown, the exercise ends and the critique begins.
“You learn from your mistakes,” Husar said. “You learn, you hone in on your skills, you figure out what went good, what went bad, what we can improve on and we improve on those skills.”
Sheriff’s deputies attend training like this once or twice a year. They want to start incorporating even more.