To shoot or not to shoot
BATON ROUGE - Some ministers got a first hand-experience of what it's like to be a police officer Thursday.
The group of clergy have been meeting with city police for seminars and participating in scenarios, learning what it means to make split-second decisions in real-life situations.
"I think they get a reality check," said BRPD Chief Carl Dabadie. "I think they realize that there's a lot more that goes on when officers have to encounter these situations every day."
Thursday gave the group an opportunity to act like an officer, and be confronted with a suspect who fights back. The clergy had to decide how to react, sometimes with lethal force.
Pastor Gerrard Robinson was one of the pastors who found himself in a simulated situation where a suspect tried to attack him, so he fired. Afterward, Robinson said he was shaken but thinks he did the right thing.
"After assessing the situation and watching the aggression and the split second decision-making process [it was the right thing to do]," he said.
In another scenario, the pastors acting as police officers happened upon a domestic violence call where a man and woman were yelling. A gun was on a table between the two but most people participating never noticed the weapon, it meant they were the ones who got shot.
"I was trying to get him away from the weapon," said one participant. "I saw it, that's why I was calling him away, I was focusing on the man."
BRPD spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola said this idea originated from Memphis, TN. Police chose to perform these scenarios with the clergy because of their impact on the community. The pastors participating were from the 70805 and 70802 zip codes, areas patrolled by the BRAVE team.
Police hope the operation helped some understand what police have to think about when they are confronted with a serious situation.
"There's a multitude of things that get thrown into a situation," said Dabadie. "[The officer] has to realize, he has to recognize, not only protect himself, but he also has to protect the community or the victims that are also at the scene."