CENTER, TX (KTRE) - There's a form of education going on now in Center at the East Texas Peace Officers Association Convention. It's hitting extremely close to home.
A mobile interactive firearms simulator tests law enforcement's proper force options. The simulations can be very similar to real life events.
"Step back. Put that gun down," one officer could be heard saying during an interactive simulation. "Put the gun down, ma'am. Put that gun down."
Just watching a trained law officer face off with a simulated emergency makes your heart pound faster. Imagine what it must be like for the officer.
"It gets your brain going," said Tina Glover, a deputy with the Smith County Sheriff's Office. "It gets your heart pumping and makes you more aware."
Any one of 250 scenarios can be selected. They allow the officer to consider and choose the proper force option.
No one knew the next one would be so similar to an actual Smith County Courthouse disturbance. Glover responded to it 8 years ago.
The realistic simulation featured yelling, crying, and confusion.
"Shots fired. Send EMS."
"EMS en route."
"What's your status, 752?"
"Shots fired. I think I've got a hostage down."
"All units en route identify."
Glover said the scenario hit close to home.
"It was a family violence situation at the courthouse. It was deadly," Glover said. "So I clearly remember being in an elevator getting ready to get off and being told by other officers not to step into the hallway because there were shots being fired."
And just a couple of weeks ago, Nacogdoches County Sheriff's deputies used deadly force.
"Every place we go there's just been a recent shooting in that area, so it's all fresh in their mind and so they have questions about that," said Curtis Wilson, a trainer for the Texas Municipal Police Association. "So it leads into this training and it gives them feedback on what happened out there."
The simulator is among the most popular training tool among peace officers. The exercise plays with the mind, but is so critical in their day-to-day decisions. Other training sessions included explosives and counterfeiting.
The East Texas Peace Officers Association Convention wraps up Tuesday night in Center with an awards banquet. We'll release the names of the honored agencies and individuals Tuesday at 10 p.m.