HAMPTON, Va. (July 29, 2018) — Hampton University professors, along with elected officials, community members and the media, participated in a police active shooter simulation at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, getting a taste of what police officers experience every day.
The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund is an organization located in Northern Virginia whose goal is to educate the public about police training through an educational police training simulator program where sessions are designed to inform participants on the law, training and practical considerations related to the use of police force. The training simulator features realistic scenarios where participants get to make decisions on what force might be necessary to resolve a situation, and then learn about different outcomes based on those decisions.
Hampton University professors in the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice are hoping to bring the simulation to campus to share with students, faculty, and staff. “What a great opportunity for our professors to gain knowledge about what police officers go through each day and to share that information with our students,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. "The Police are guardians of justice and provide safety for our communities."
The training uses a screen and projector where various real-life situations play out and participants interact with the screen, while holding either a gun or Taser, and have to react and make the best decision possible to the situation that is playing out on the screen.
Idonia Barrett, Assistant Professor and Freshman Adviser for the Hampton University Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, participated in the simulation and knows how important it is for community members to realize that there are lots of things happening in a high-stress police situation. “The police want to get this information to the public because their thing is awareness and it is stressed that what happens a great deal is misunderstanding between the police that come from bias, bias that can come from both parts, people’s mistrust that comes from families or neighborhoods where you’re taught not to trust the police; or that you have individuals who join the force who use their bias to force the law, so when you get those two together, it’s a perfect storm which creates a fiasco. But if the public were educated on their training or the training they’re supposed to have, we can hold them to a higher standard.”
Professor Barrett and Alfreada Brown-Kelly, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice in the Hampton University Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, who both participated in the training, plan to bring the simulation to Hampton University. “One of the good things about them coming here just like when we went there, we had no idea what we were going into, what to expect, and I think if students have the chance to experience what police officers experience, then it will be good for them, and then they could possibly see how things can go wrong,” said Brown-Kelly. “I have a whole new perspective on it now, my friends who are police officers are saying, ‘see you’re so hard on us,’ but now I see how things can go wrong. But the main goal is awareness and everyone on campus would benefit from this.”