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Parker police have new tool to help train officers

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PARKER, Colo. -- The Parker Police Department started using a new tool to train its officers who are put in tough situations every day. Across the nation, police officers are under fire for their actions in Ferguson, Missouri and even in the Denver metro area.

At the Parker Police Department for the last month, officers were training on a new firearm simulator.

“It’s really reinforcing the split second decisions skills," said Sgt. Joe Cummings.

Officers let our reporter Cathy Hernandez experience it first-hand.

She geared up and was even equipped with a gun, pepper spray and a Taser. Next, Sgt. Joe Cummings showed her how to properly hold a gun and she was ready to try the training.

In her first scenario, it was nighttime. A business alarm went off and when she showed up, she heard noise inside.

“Put your hands up,” Cathy yelled.

The man didn’t obey her commands. Instead, he pulled out a stapler and in three-fourths of a second, she had to make a decision of shooting him.

“Good decision or bad decision,” asked Sgt. Cummings.

“Good decision,” responded Cathy.

Although he didn`t have a weapon, Cathy felt she couldn't take a risk.

Next, she’s with another officer and there was a report of a home burglary.

“Drop the weapon," Cathy told the suspect.

A man came from behind the house and shot Cathy and her partner. Her safety prevented her from firing, but her partner shot the suspect.

Police hope the training will help them make the right decision when it comes to life or death in the streets.

"We’re trying to be the highest trained professionals that we can be to provide the service that the citizens demand and deserve," said Sgt. Cummings.

The system cost the Parker Police Department $60,000. They said it’s a small price to pay to keep everyone safe.