The Record Summer 2015 - Shoot, Don't Shoot


Split Second Decision: Shoot, Don't Shoot

Seconds into the exchange, tensions soar. The trespasser, seated on the ground against a brick wall, keeps one hand concealed behind a backpack close at his side. He maintains the posture even after the police officer tells him repeatedly to show his hands. 

The trespasser doesn’t. Instead, he grows agitated and unleashes a string of challenges: “Come here, man. Just come here. Why don’t you come here?”

“Show your hands,” the officer shouts above the jabber, eyes fixed and gun raised.

Intense, real, and puts you in the moment when you have to make a decision. That’s how one participant in the “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” virtual training described the interactive video simulation.

“Shoot, Don’t Shoot” is designed to help police officers know when and how to use deadly force. Though only a video image on a screen, the uncooperative trespasser makes eye contact and responds to the police trainee with remarkable realism.

Michael LennixMichael Lennix ’83, director of Campus Safety at Greenville College, attests to the benefit of the scenario-based training. “It was effective,” he recalls.

Prior to returning to Greenville College in 2013 to head campus safety, Lennix served 25 years as district commander with the Illinois State Police. He engaged in the “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” simulation as a component of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. 

“Shoot, Don’t Shoot” is an interactive, computer-generated video simulation that replicates real-life scenarios like domestic disturbances and traffic stops. Thanks to programmers and designers skilled in digital media, police instructors are able to customize given scenarios to force trainees into making necessary decisions.

“Each decision takes you down a road where other decisions need to be made,” recalls Lennix. True to life, the instances requiring critical thinking, judgment and action come in rapid succession.

Lennix's reflections reveal a key value of computer simulation: experience gained in a risk-free setting. The “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” simulation allows officers to try out different responses until they land on one that is most effective.

Beginning this fall, students at Greenville College majoring in digital media will have the option to study game design and development and sharpen their skills in technologies that make simulated job training like “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” possible.

In a world of high-stakes interactions like law enforcement, today’s students may be the heroes of job-trainers in the future.  

Click below to learn more:

Digital Media – Game Design and Development

GC’s Light and Life Digital Media Center, Old Neighbor Meets New Needs

From College to Career: Five Tips From a Recent GC Digital Media Grad

Alumni have always powered innovative programing at Greenville College. Continue the heritage. Click here to give today.

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