Continuing its “Cop 101” series on what police officer training is like these days, the Las Vegas Review-Journal describes how prospective cops are told to protect themselves: “One by one, the police academy recruits walk into what they think is a bar fight, unaware of what’s behind the door. From the darkness, a knife-wielding attacker lunges at them. A few draw their guns and fire. They live. Most freeze, pull their Tasers or do any number of things besides pull their guns. For the purposes of the exercise, they die.”
It was a drill to see if the recruits had “fire in their gut,” one they had been warned about several weeks earlier. For three months, the academy staff tries to build the sense of fight in the recruits, instilling in them the idea that out on the streets, giving up gets you killed. The drill halfway through the six-month academy marks a transition in the recruits’ training. They’ll build upon the basic material they learned in the first half of the academy and develop the more advanced tactics and skills they’ll need as beat cops. By now five of the original recruits in the class covered by the newspaper have quit. “The bad guys are getting better. They’re getting smarter,” says training officer Will Germosen. Instructors are careful to train the recruits as realistically as possible to avoid developing “training scars,” he says.