Toledoans experience, learn first-hand how officers respond in tense situations

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WTVG) - Use of force is an option that officers sometimes have to use, and Wednesday students in Toledo's Citizen Police Academy experienced it up close and personal.

"There was no way I was fighting, I was resisting," said Jeff Williams of Toledo. "I could move my arms, but my back—lower body—was done."

Volunteers like Williams took turns being tased by instructors. It was all to demonstrate the way police handle people in hostile situations.

"We're talking split seconds between life and death, and it's very important that they understand that," said Sergeant Erik Welling of the Toledo Police Department.

Before students saw items like tasers in action they learned the legal and practical aspects behind use of force. It's one of the many immersive topics covered in each 10 week class.

"I think I'll learn a lot of information to help me understand police, police relations, and hopefully I can do some good in the community," said Lisa Lawrence of Toledo.

With three instances of fatal force used in 2017 alone, Toledo police hope the simulations show people just how tough their job can be.

"It's important for them ... to see how difficult of a job this is and the split second decisions that need to be made in our line of duty," said Welling.

After going through it themselves, many students say they now have a new appreciation for those who protect Toledo's streets.

"Now I have this experience,' [and] I can say, 'I've had done that. I know what it's like. I know how the officers get trained,'" said Williams.

Toledo Police try to offer a citizen police academy at least once a year. If you're interested and would like to get involved we have a link with information in the sidebar of this story.