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St. Louis County police using science to better train their force and new recruits

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - St. Louis County police are using science to better train their force and new recruits.

“We`re all limited because we’re human. Our brain can only do so much. Our brain can only process so much,” said Sgt. Bradley Bland with the St. Louis County Police Academy

In this force science scenario, a top-notch recruit, war veteran and sniper platoon member was told a man would shoot at him but he couldn`t defend himself until he confirmed the threat. While academy supervisors say his reaction time was remarkable, he still shot the shooter in his back.

When recruit Jordan Temperly was asked how he thought he did, he replied, “Not as good as I should have done sir, it was weird coming in here in the middle of a traffic class.”

Another situation shows a man running at you with a knife, from 21 feet away. This recruit didn`t hit him with a shot until he was just a few feet away. Our brains don`t process as quickly as we want, especially with so much cognitive load.

“You could do it 100 times and play by the same guidelines and same rules that apply to the street, reacting to threat when guy becomes a threat, and you can’t be any quicker than that,” Sgt. Bland said.

This is why St. Louis police are being trained to think about time, distance and cover when dealing with a threat and understanding their limitations. They say science shows its impossible to do exactly what you want 100 percent of time.

“Sometimes officers are trying to defend themselves and they make split-second decisions. The courts understand that but sometimes the public doesn’t understand that,” said Sgt. Bland.