Split second decision between life and death, what would you dec - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Split second decision between life and death, what would you decide?

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A split-second decision can be the difference between life and death; decisions police officers are forced to make all too often.

The Dubuque Police Department allowing KWWL's Jessica Hartman to experience some of the potentially deadly situations officers walk into without knowing all the facts and have to, at best case, de-escalate the situation and worst case, shoot or be shot.

Hartman was given little background walking into four scenarios where weapons or aggressive people come at her. Hartman trying to talk the aggressors down, but feeling the need to pull her gun in two of the scenarios.

In at least two of the three scenarios, Hartman wouldn't have survived.

Rachael Ferraro, a member of the Police Chief's Forum, went through the scenarios earlier this year.

"Should I have shot the guy? Could he have reached me? Would I be dead right now? If you have children, you should feel the same way. You don't get a second chance out there. These officers have one shot. They don't get to think about it afterward and say well; we are at their funerals," said Ferraro.

The exercise showing the difficult decisions made as an officer, but, "this isn't to minimize that there are a lot of things that need to be fixed in America, especially with policing, but we can only control so much of it," said Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing.

Dubuque Police Officers asking anyone involved in a situation with police to listen to instructions.

"If someone complies, even if we are wrong in what we are asking people to do, we can work it out in the end," said a Dubuque Police Lieutenant.

The Lieutenant pointing to one of the scenarios where the person holding the knife was actually a homeowner defending himself from an intruder; something that is hard to determine with weapons drawn.

Chief Mark Dalsing emphasizing the exercise was to show the stressful situations his officers are in, but he believes there are still issues in policing and the use of force that can be improved by all law enforcement.

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