On Dec. 3, 2015, the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) held a successful Shoot or Don’t Shoot Simulation in room C225, Commerce Building. The event was organized by Nhatthien “Nathan” Nguyen, Ph.D., a Houston Police Department (HPD) lieutenant and UHD adjunct professor of criminal justice.
Conducted by HPD officers George Guerrero and Officer Jorge Gaytan, the event offered a very realistic and virtual interactive simulation, created with a digital projector and motion sensors. A total of five different scenarios ranging from suicide by cops, domestic violence to active shooters were conducted with students’ participation.
HPD officers Guerrero and Gaytan analyzed the play-by-play of each shooting and how/when the students were justified in using deadly force. Students commented that the simulation gave them a greater appreciation of what officers go through in making split-second decisions.
“After the Shoot or Don’t Shoot Simulation, I’ve realized most of my information about police shooting came from the media, which seems to judge the officers’ action very quickly,” said a UHD student participant. “After going through the simulation and understanding the risk and dangers that officers face daily, I now have a greater understanding of the officers’ thought process when they’re in dangerous situations.”
Overall, Lt. Nguyen is happy that the event had a positive impact on students. He said, “As long as I have at least one student cultivated with critical thinking, I think I did my job as a professor.”