Elizabethton High School students get to step in to officers’ shoes with firearms training simulator

Some Tri-Cities High School students recently got a taste of what it’s like to be a police officer.

Friday, Major Shannon Peters from Elizabethton Police Department set up a firearms training simulator (FATS) at Elizabethton High School in Criminal Justice teacher Ryan Presnell’s room. Presnell is a former FBI agent. He traded in his FBI badge seven years ago to give students a look inside the world of criminal justice.

He said most of the students in his class are interested in a career in law enforcement.

“I plan on going into the military after school and then coming and being a police officer back here,” EHS Junior Dylan Nordby said.

But before pursuing that career, students got to experience a piece of what officers experience every day, stressful situations, making split second decisions, without the luxury of watching and judging the situation after the fact.

EPD brought the simulator after students completed a week-long study on use of force.

The FATS system simulates real-life situations officers could encounter daily, in an interactive format.

“It gives you scenarios and you have to find out answer quickly because I mean that could be life or death,” Nordby said.

“The kids get to make a decision okay am I going to approach this person, am I going to use force against this person, what is it I’m going to have to do, and you know they get their eyes opened,” Presnell said. “After this day they look at it and say okay I don’t like that I don’t like the way that felt that’s not for me. I will have a lot of kids that will do really well and say I enjoyed that that’s who I want to be.”

Presnell said whether or not kids decide to go in to law enforcement after this class, he hopes it gives them an insight in to what it’s really like to be an officer.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

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