YORK, S.C. -- Many of us have never stepped into the shoes of a police officer. That's why the York County Sheriff’s Office invited an NBC Charlotte reporter to be a deputy for a day.
NBC Charlotte’s Savannah Levins volunteered and quickly discovered it wasn’t going to be easy.
The morning began by issuing reporters a bulletproof vest and belt, followed by a Taser demonstration.
Everyone then had to practice protective combat, run an obstacle course, initiate a simulated traffic stop, and participate in a “shoot, don’t shoot” simulation.
“With everything we have going on in the world today, it’s important for the media and the masses to know that law enforcement is not an easy job by any means,” training officer Joshua Solomon said. “The decisions made in law enforcement are seldom easy. Most time it’s a split second and the penalty of being wrong is someone’s getting hurt, someone’s getting killed.”
Solomon admits that type of training is needed now more than ever.
“Officers are people, too,” he said. “We make mistakes, and not everyone in this profession is necessarily good.”
And lately, he says they have struggled to recruit and keep officers.
“The trend we’re seeing right now with all the scrutiny, we’re starting to lose good officers who are getting pressure from their families and starting to realize is it worth risking my life for an ungrateful society,” he said.
But at the end of the day, he says he’s proud to wear the badge.
You can participate in a similar experience. Just call your local police department and ask if they offer a “citizens academy.”