Shoot/ Don't Shoot: A nerve-racking decision

In real time situations, S.W.A.T. officers have to make quick decisions, and Wednesday, several local reporters got a taste of what they go through on the job.

Those situations were real-life training exercises for the S.W.A.T. team, just in case the same situations came up while they were on duty.

Corporal Toby Hudson told me the idea of the exercise is to inoculate officers to stressful incidents.

"Shooting on the range is good, being in the classroom talking about use of force is good but actually coming in as a young new officer and being thrown into a stressful situation with the simulation with people kind of screaming and yelling and flowing, that's what we're looking for."

When I went through the simulations, it was definitely tough to decide when to shoot and when not to, and it's safe to say that I failed to make the right decision in a few scenarios.

"When you're put in a very stressful situation such as an officer involved shooting or some other type of violent crime, the body reacts a certain way you have tunnel vision where your vision narrows down into what you're focused on. You have some auditory exclusion where as you're not hearing everything that's going on, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up and it limits your motor functions as far as fine motor skills."

Those scenarios can range anywhere from robberies in progress to domestic violence calls to chasing suspects, just a few of the ones we went through Wednesday.

"The whole idea behind those scenarios is give them a little piece of everything we think they might encounter out in the real world."

A.P.D. had a tactical medic take our blood pressure before and after the exercise to show us that our blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenalin all increase and affect our ability to make decisions.

"We need officers that can make rapid quick decisions to save lives and that's the idea behind this training. If we get them to understand in here during training, they won't lock down out there in the real world."

Corporal Hudson says the exercise helps us understand these types of situations and trains police officers better.

He says it's their jobs to save lives, not take them.