One of the perks if working as a news reporter is that sometimes you get to experience things that the average citizen doesn’t get the opportunity to do.
Wednesday was one of those days for me. Thanks to Willmar Police Capt. Jim Felt and Officer Chad Oakleaf, I got to step up to the firearms simulation training system, pick up the laser-equipped gun and shoot the “bad guys” on the screen. Or at least I tried to shoot them.
For the record, during the bank robbery scenario, I hit the bank robber coming out of the building wearing a bullet-proof vest and firing a machine gun. I also hit the guy who fired at me after breaking into a building during the burglary scenario.
What I didn’t do was effectively stop the guy coming at me with an axe or recognize that there was a gun right next to the drunk man threatening to kill himself. The three officers in the room had to point that out to me.
A little time using that training simulator proves what I and other regular citizens should already know: It’s a heck of a lot easier to watch our local law enforcement officers do their jobs than to actually do their work, even if it is just a training simulation. About 10 minutes with the laser gun and I was ready to go back to being armed with a notebook, pen, camera and digital recorder.
Read about the firearms simulation on www.wctrib.com. Then go thank a law enforcement officer for their efforts to protect and serve our communities. Their jobs are much more complex, challenging and dangerous than we often realize or acknowledge.
- Gretchen Schlosser, staff writer