DALLAS -- You've seen the headlines, "Officer Shoots Unarmed Man." Are you quick to blame the cop? After all, the dead guy didn't have a gun, right?
Well this week, the Dallas Police Association along with the Texas Municipal Police Association gave the media, Dallas politicos and even a local activist the opportunity to walk in a cop's shoes.
It's called Firearms Simulator Training. This is a live simulator that reacts in real-time to every move and verbal command you give.
First call was a trespasser on a business property that the owner wants kicked off. They all confronted the suspect, but then came a distraction. A citizen is trying to videotape them.
All participants were killed, except NewsFix Operations Manager Keisha Coleman who has nine years training with the Air Force.
The politicians and the activist bit the bullet.
So, did the person doing the videotaping become too much of a distraction?
"Yes," Adam Medrano, District 2 Dallas Councilman, said.
"He was a distraction," Coleman agreed.
"Having a hard time putting up as much distance cause I was trying to watch him and watch him," Rick Callahan, District 5 Dallas councilman, said.
Now maybe you have a better idea why there's a bill in Austin to keep citizens with cameras at least 25 feet from cops.
Second call -- a domestic violence dispute. One of the most dangerous calls police get. You've got a battered wife and her uncooperative husband who's holding a BBQ grill fork.
Some stood there and got stabbed. Most used their taser. Others used their gun.
Was the fork a weapon?
"It is for me," Coleman said.
"Absolutely," Callahan said.
"Yes," Medrano said.
"That object could do some harm," Minister Dominic Alexander, President of the Next Generation Action Network, said.
Third call -- a simple traffic stop. Well, maybe not so simple since your suspect is as big as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Yikes. Scary.
The suspect is uncooperative and gets out of his vehicle approaching the officer. No weapons on hand. Just muscles. In the end, everyone used their gun shooting the muscle man to the ground.
"Very large and he could knock me out with one punch," Callahan said.
Remember that headline, "Officer Shoots an Unarmed Man." How are you thinking about it now?
"These guys get out on the street and all of a sudden they have got to make some tough decisions," Callahan said.
"Realizing the split decisions they have to make and how much time they have," Medrano said.
"When the officers give you a command, you do it. You do it for the safety of this officer and the safety of you. Even if you're mad."
That is probably the best thing. Just follow the cop's instruction.
Now one thing's for sure, I'm glad I'm not wearing an officer's shoes. No, thank you.