Peachtree City citizens first-hand police officer experience

Peachtree City police held a special class Saturday aimed at tackling the tough conversation surrounding police use of force.

Everyday citizens got the chance to put themselves in an officer's shoes when it comes to dealing with tense situations.

It wasn’t a sit down and lecture type of class.

Organizers gave those who signed up a hands-on experience.

“I want it to be a learning experience. I want people to have a positive experience with us,” Lieutenant Ken Ralls said.

Peachtree City Lieutenant Ken Ralls said the course usually takes place during a longer citizens police academy but COVID-19 forced them to find a new way to connect.

“The biggest question we seem to be getting is about police use of force so we took that part of the police academy out and incorporated it into smaller blocks,” Ralls said.

Those who signed up for the free course went over techniques, asked questions and got a chance to connect with the men and women who are sworn to serve and protect them.

“Unfortunately people have interactions that aren’t the best times. They don’t call us for the birthday parties they call us for the divorces so we would like to have some positive interactions,” Ralls said.

Then it was time for the citizens to wear the badge and become officers.

In this scenario, they were faced with a man who broke into a building.

“It’s not scripted. It’s not pretty and unfortunately, it happens,” Ralls said.

“Let me see some id on you. Go slow! “ one Citizen yelled during the exercise.

While the security alarm blared some demanded identification.

“Slowly! Give it slowly,” Another Citizen said before firing a simulation shot.

Others pulled their simulation weapon and fired a shot into the dimly lit area.

“Does it give you a different way of looking at it in that scenario,” the trainer asked.

Afterward, it was back to the classroom to review what happened.

Lt. Ralls hopes those that come out will leave with a better understanding and a deeper connection.

“We are here to serve the public. We work for you and we want to make sure you know where we are coming from and thinking certain things,” Ralls said.

Officials plan to have more classes similar to this in the upcoming weeks.

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