In shooting simulator, fairgoers aim from police perspective

When the gunman showed up at the hospital, Mike McDorman raised his handgun, took aim and shot the guy. He did the same when an impaired driver stepped out of a vehicle and aimed his way.

Then, having dealt with a handful of these tense scenarios in just a few minutes, he handed the gun back to a sheriff’s deputy and walked out of the police shooting simulator with a relieved smile.

“I’m a mess. Sweaty!” said McDorman, the local chamber of commerce president, who acknowledged he shot an innocent person in one scene. “I’m not quitting my day job.”

McDorman was among dozens of people who took aim in a firearms training simulator placed at a county fair by a sheriff who hoped to help citizens better understand how quickly police must make life-or-death decisions. Some participants saw value in the exercise as police around the country face increased scrutiny for shootings, especially those involving unarmed black men.

That’s the educational effect that Sheriff Deborah Burchett hoped for when she rented the simulator to offer as a free exhibit at this week’s Clark County Fair. Her staff built a darkened room for it, right between booths for a golf cart raffle, an anti-abortion group, a cellphone company and the National Guard.

The operators estimate that at least a couple hundred people tried the simulator in the first three days, plus deputies, local officials and fair officials who took turns before the fair opening…

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