She clutched the bright blue Glock 17T in her right hand as she entered the dark range followed by the officer.
During the fifth week of the Citizens Police Academy on Tuesday night, the students were invited to the Public Safety Training Center on South Walnut Street to undergo firearms training.
After a presentation by Zach Weisheit, the officer who runs the firearms department, IU sophomore Stephanie Pujols was the first to volunteer for the simulation.
Senior Officer Brett Rorem loaded the training pistol and told her Sgt. Cody Forston was inside the range with a knife. Weisheit said the Glock 17T is identical to the gun used by officers in form and function.
Pujols stood inside the range. Rorem stood off to the side.
“Scene is hot,” Rorem said to signify the start of the simulation.
Pujols felt fine before entering the range. But in that moment, said she was overcome by a sense of anxiety and confusion. She didn’t know where Forston was.
A light flickered in the large dimly lit range. Pujols looked around through her blue glasses, but couldn’t find him.
Then he emerged from behind one of the black barricades in the center in the range. Forston walked toward Pujols slowly, holding a knife up in the air.
Pujols’ first instinct was to shoot. She raised the pistol, pointed it at Forston and pulled the trigger. She missed. The 8 millimeter soap pellet fired released a sweet, campfire smell into the air.
“Shouldn’t you ask him to put it down?” Rorem said.
“Could you please put the knife down?” Pujols said.
Forston didn’t put the knife down. He continued to approach Pujols.
Pujols applied what she was taught by Weisheit – the situation required force proportional to the danger to the officer.
Five loud pops rang through the barren range as she shot the remaining soap pellets left in the pistol. They all missed.
“Scene is cold,” Rorem said.
Rorem escorted Pujols out of the range and took the pistol back. She returned to the classroom.
“How’d it go?” Weisheit said.
“That was intense,” Pujols said.
Next week, students will learn about prosecution and watch a critical incident response team demonstration
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