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St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office lets fair visitors try shoot or don't shoot simulation

Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 00:04:24-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — It can be a life or death decision made with little time to spare.

Law enforcement officers face the risk of having to use deadly force to save other’s lives or even their own.

At the St. Lucie County fair, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office is allowing the public to see how they would react in a high-stress situation. Would they or wouldn’t they shoot?

Using a simulator, guests were given various scenarios. Some are looking for an active shooter in a workplace, with screaming employees and shots being fired to raise the tension.

In another, an officer responds to a sex offender making contact with a young girl. That sex offender eventually tried to hit the officer with a baseball bat.

But there’s also a test to see if someone could make the decision not to shoot.

In one scenario, someone points a cellphone at the officer, not a gun.

“You hear the gunshots, people are running. You’re going to be looking for the threat,” explained Deputy Jose Estrada.

Gina Broshard was one of the guests who gave it a try

“It’s like adrenaline going,” Broshard said. “I don’t know what I would do if it was real.”

Broshard ultimately shot the attacker in her scenario, but also let off several other shots targeting nothing.

“We’re responsible as law enforcement for every bullet that leaves that gun,” Estrada said.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said people get a look at the tough decisions law enforcement officers make regularly around the country.

“It requires a tremendous amount of training for our law enforcement to be able to react,” Mascara said.

But, it’s not just law enforcement.

Millions of Americans also have concealed weapons permits, who could potentially make a real decision on whether or not to shoot.

“A lot of times we hear people say you should’ve shot them in the hand, or you should’ve shot them in the foot, whatever the case might be. But, when you’re actually in it and things are constantly changing, you get that split second to react, it’s real eye-opener,” Estrada said.