OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City police officers gave KFOR an inside look into the stressful and intense situations officers often find themselves in, through the department’s reality-based training.
“He’s robbing me! He’s robbing me! Get him! Get him!” yelled an OKC police officer, dressed head to toe in protective gear during one of the drills.
The high-stakes situations were filled with big, but safe, guns, equipment and tools, giving a taste of life in the line of duty.
“These scenarios we’re putting them through, police have actually faced,” said Chief Wade Gourley.
“It builds stress, because out in the streets, obviously they’re dealing with different scenarios every day,” said Capt. Valerie Littlejohn.
“We’re looking for instant reactions,” said one of the trainers at the Police Training Center near Northwest 10th and Portland.
The scenarios were wide ranging, from mental health calls to gruesome stabbings, complete with fake blood and organs.
“I can’t get this out of my head! And she keeps making me take my medicine!” said one of the trainers taking on the role of a citizen in crisis, while the trainee had try to de-escalate the situation.
“And now look! His guts are hanging out! Hey!” said another trainer during a stabbing reenactment.
During the training, officers had to navigate surprise attacks. One officer was given a black bag to wear on their head while metal music blared in the training room. Trainers said this was to isolate him mentally before the drill.
“Shots fired! I’m hit! I’m hit!” said one of the actors in the scene. “He got me in the leg!”
After the drill, the trainer and trainee would have a quick debrief with feedback.
“The other guy had a gun pointing at me so I fired, twice, I think. [The gun] kind of malfunctioned. Fixed it and he was down,” said the trainee.
“Good job utilizing his tourniquet for him, so you can use yours should anything else go wrong,” said the trainer.
Even a couple Oklahoma City Councilmembers learned the ropes.
“It was a lot to deal with,” said Bradley Carter of Ward 1. “You’ve got to make a split decision. You know, whether you’re having to protect yourself or protect somebody else.”
“When they go out into the community, they can relay what they’re seeing and what we’re doing here,” said Gourley.
Police said this was the time to make mistakes instead of out on the streets.
“It makes it a lot easier for you to handle in a real situation, because you’ll draw on those things you did during training,” said the chief.
Police told News 4 that officers who are involved in a critical incident, like a police shooting, also go through this training as part of their wellness process. It helps them build up confidence and make sure they’re ready to go back to full duty.