Use of Force training shows participants other side of blue line

- For police officers, there's no such thing as a routine day on the beat: every traffic stop, building search or 911 call requires quick thinking and split decision making.

On Saturday, people had a chance to train with Sarasota Police Department and got an inside look at what it's like to walk on their side of the blue line.

About 40 men and women trained with officers at SPD headquarters. Officers played both instructors and actors, as participants made traffic stops that went awry, searched for an ornery burglary suspect in a simulated dark warehouse, and intervened on a violent domestic dispute.

The men and women were taught to identify threats and told to use their best judgment during situations - like when to use physical force or their fake firearms.

"When you do see a potential threat you only have so many seconds, like one, where they could use it against you, and you don't have the time to react," said Lexie Morgan, who tackle three different police training scenarios where officers played the rolls of suspects and kept participants on their toes.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for the citizens of our community to interact with our officers and see what they have to go through on a daily basis when they respond to calls for service," said Sarasota Police Deputy Chief of Police Patrick Robinson.

Sarasota police hope to hold Use of Force demonstrations like this one at least twice a year. The hope is to dispel any misconceptions about police by giving the community a greater understanding of what they do and why. They also hope to create a similar version to take into schools to teach kids and teens.

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