MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. — According to the Washington Post’s police shooting database, over 700 people have been shot and killed by a police officer this year.
While most tend to focus on why the officer pulled the trigger, an event in Bloomington helped tell the story from the other side.
Project Blue Life is a campaign geared toward showing others what goes through a police officer’s mind during a shooting. On Tuesday, the McLean County Sherrif’s Office hosted an event to educate community leaders on what happens leading up to shooting, and then gave them the chance to react in a real-life scenario.
“I can tell you right now no officer ever wants to be put in that situation,” said McLean County Sheriff, Jon Sandage. “The amount of quick reaction and thought that goes into it is going to leave a lot of people surprised.”
For the first time, many of Mclean County elected officials gathered in the county’s sheriff’s office to learn more about police-involved shootings.
“The police have a very tough job to do,” said Sandage. “They are human also, and not everything is clear cut.”
Officials sat through a presentation where they learned just how fast officers have to react. Then they were able to put their knowledge to the test.
“Sometimes it’s like, well the officer might have done something wrong,” said Chuck Erickson, McLean County Board Member. “But, I think you have to understand that the officer doesn’t get to sit back and watch a tape, or a movie, or a re-run. The officer has to make that decision right there at the moment.”
The elected officials say they now have new information that they can’t wait to show others.
I can walk away with some knowledge for my constituents so I can better advocate for them,” said Logan Smith, McLean County Board Member. “But also, educate them on what it’s like to go through a situation like this.”
Sandage went on to say he hopes events like this help people understand just how tough a job being in law enforcement can be.