Cullman Police officer Chris Nichols was able to talk down a school shooter holding a student at knife point, catch an armed robbery suspect in a high speed chase, and save his partner who was being held at gunpoint all in about fifteen minutes. Luckily, all those scenarios played out in a training environment.

With school shootings on the rise, and the potential for lethal situations always present, the Cullman City Police Department has requested use of a simulator that allows officers to practice firearm training with a range of dangerous scenarios.

The F.A.T.S. Program displays a scenario on a projection screen for officers to practice how they would react to and handle certain events, enabling them to be better equipped if the situation happened in real time. Cullman City Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said the program is eye-opening for both officers and others who are able to participate in order to see how decisions are made in detrimental situations.

“You may see something that says ‘police shoots an unarmed man’ in the news and wonder how that can happen,” Culpepper said. “If an officer gets a call that someone has a gun, and while responding to that call you say ‘show me your hands,’ and they don’t follow the command or they respond with ‘I have a gun’ and the thing is he may or may not have a gun, he might have a cellphone or something. Either way, you have to make that split second decision and after the fact, looking at a dead body laying on the ground with no gun in his hand, people will ask, ‘Why did you shoot him?’ Then you see in real life, how quick you have to react and decide whether it’s lethal force or not.”

Read more at The Cullman Times

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