MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - A state-of-the-art virtual simulator at the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center gave people a better understanding of the decisions police officers make on a daily basis.
The training center has three virtual simulators that give real life situations officers respond to. Of those three, one of them will be dedicated to the public to give non-law enforcement people the opportunity to get a better understanding of scenarios.
"We want people who are not in law enforcement to experience some of the decision-making that law enforcement goes through and then get a chance to have conversations with them about what the police do and get their feed back," said Chelsey Keyes, director of communication for the Public Safety Training Foundation.
Keyes, a former Champaign County Sheriff's Office deputy, said the simulator will put people through different scenarios like a jail setting, traffic stops, an active shooter and de-escalation situations. Her hope is the people who go through the simulator get a better understanding of the job.
"When they are going through it themselves and they have to make the decisions, talk to the people and do the de -escalating. they realize it's not as easy as you want it to be," Keyes said.
On Tuesday, some of the members of the WAND News team were invited to take part in the training. Rafael Gutierrez, director of training for the Public Safety Foundation, told WAND News when people put on all the gear and have information quickly told to them, assessing the situation can be harder than people think.
"They get a better feel for the split-second decisions that officers have to make, it's one of the things that is very hard to train and to teach" said Gutierrez, a retired Illinois Conservation Police director.
The goal of welcoming members of the community to try the simulator is to get a better understanding of what law enforcement goes through and the quick decisions they have to make.
"I am a meteorologist by trade. I wouldn't be able to do this every single day," said WAND Chief Meteorologist Jim Kosek. "I hope people realize and are more compassionate as to how difficult of a job law enforcement has."
The simulator is not open to the public. Keyes told WAND News, they are inviting specific members of the community, like city leaders, members of the media and lawmakers.