I was accepted to be a part of a citizens group that goes in to each of the city departments (fire, EDC, city manager's office, police, etc) and learns about what they do. It is a more in depth look than what you learn from the normal citizen perspective. It is one night per week for 10 weeks. We are in week 8 and this week was the police department - which is my favorite one. On Tuesday night, we spoke to the Chief and a couple of the Lieutenants for several hours learning about the ins and outs of their department. Then last night they took us to their training area and we got to run a mock drill. We had on full training gear (vest, neck protector, face protector, and a helmet) and they even let us carry the training gun with the painted soap bullets. Each of us played the role of a rookie cop and two off duty officers were "bad guys". We couldn't watch the people before us, so I went third in order to get to watch the remaining 8 people behind me. Each of us did a routine traffic stop where the bad guys were non-compliant and potentially had weapons. Each scenario was different. In some they had knives, some they had guns, some they were drunk with weapons, and in some they were just acting stupid but had weapons. In mine, we pulled them over and got both of them out of the car; however, my guy, the passenger, had a gun hidden under his jacket. We had him get out of the car and lay down on the ground and as the training officer was dealing with the driver, the passenger raised up to fire at me (thankfully he missed). I was able to then return fire and killed him. Although I fired six shots, he said I actually hit him with a mortal wound on the first shot at about 25 feet away. After each scenario, they told us what we did well or did wrong. My mistake was that I took my eyes off of the passenger for a split second, which was just enough to give him time to reach for his weapon.
Most everyone said their heart rate was really pumping as soon as they put on the vest and went outside. I did really well and kept mine under control until I saw they gun pointed at me; then the heart rate jumped up, but I was able to keep it under control enough to return fire and take cover.
One lady started shaking her finger at the bad guy like she was scolding her kid - it was hilarious. A couple of members of my group forgot to keep their eyes on the bad guy and got shot, but only 2 out of the 11 of us were killed. All in all, we did really well and it was a total blast. It gives you a very different perspective on what the police do during what we think of as a routine traffic stop.
If you have a citizens group in your city, I highly recommend you join. It is fun and informative.