Time to put up or shut up regarding deadly force

In response to murder charges filed against Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan, a local non-profit organization has laid down an incredibly pertinent challenge to those who suggest our law enforcement officers are too quick to use deadly force — walk a mile in their shoes and show us how it should be done.

Heroes Helping Heroes (HHH) is a non-profit organization in Minnesota which was formed to support our first responders and focuses on the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

HHH has issued an open invitation to any politician, prosecuting attorney, or media member to participate in a “shoot — don’t shoot” simulation, so they can experience the life and death, split-second decision-making situations our law enforcement officers face daily. All they need to do is pick a time on Saturday, February 10, and they can demonstrate their prowess.

These simulations are the same type of training our law enforcement officers go through. They combine real life video scenarios with computer technology and simulated firearms to challenge and train the participant to resolve volatile situations as peacefully as possible. One reality learned, is sometimes “as peacefully as possible” means a necessary use of deadly force. The training is very helpful for law enforcement, and incredibly eye-opening for citizens who are put to the test.

There are many videos online that demonstrate this challenging training. One of the most telling is a video of a Phoenix-based anti-police activist, frequently critical of police use of force, who agreed to participate in three “shoot — don’t shoot” scenarios. He was shot and killed in the first scenario, then shot and killed an unarmed man approaching him in the second scenario and struggled to deal with an uncooperative man who had secreted a knife in his waistband in the third scenario. The simulations opened this activist’s eyes to the dangers and difficulties our law enforcement officers face, and his opinions flipped 180 degrees. Watch the video here

Far too often following a fatal use of force by our law enforcement officers our political figures, the media, and in recent years our prosecuting attorneys have found it appropriate to second guess and side with the activist voices which routinely condemn all police use of force.

Unfortunately, with increasing frequency these critiques have come before any investigation has even taken place, which is incredibly careless. Of course, the critiques are amplified even more when the officer is of a different race than the offender — despite a lack of evidence that race played any part in the use of force.

HHH’s open invitation represents the ultimate opportunity for these individuals to step forward and experience just how difficult the job of a law enforcement officer is. See the full invitation below.

Jason Lefler of Lexipol, a law enforcement training outfit, aptly sums up the challenges our law enforcement officers face in life and death situations, noting that law enforcement officers are not robots.

“Understanding reaction time and perception-reaction time is critical… Only then can we refute critics armed with the benefit of hindsight and blissful ignorance of the dynamic, stress-invoking, and life-changing events associated with law enforcement.”

HHH’s open invitation on Saturday, February 10, is sure to drive that reality home to anyone willing to participate.