ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — To shoot or not to shoot: A life or death question many in law enforcement deal with daily. Thursday, community members met with Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies to go through a shooting simulation, and better understand the training deputies go through.

Deputy Mike Zamiara says the Sheriff’s Citizens Interaction Committee meets at the Public Safety Building once a month, “…to review policies, procedures, as to how they relate to how we conduct business at the Sheriff’s Office.”

They are business leaders, social workers, clergy, different people from across the county, “who offer perspectives on how we do our business, and they offer input ultimately on how they would like to be policed,” Zamiara said.

Thursday, community members and deputies used a shooting simulator. It allows law enforcement to make a decision in real-time using simulated deadly physical force. 

“The reason behind us doing this is for us to really have a feel of what the officers go through,” said caseworker Carol Garrett.

After Thursday, you don’t want to mess with her. She describes her time in the simulator: “One guy that came out, he started out with a knife, then he kind of launched at me. So, that’s what I did what I needed to do,” she said laughing.

Garrett says this tool allows law enforcement to make the right call, at the right time.

Zamiara believes this is vital for training for intense real-life ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ situations. It ensures police are better trained, and the community knows more about deadly force situations. 

“It allows us to sharpen our skills and decision-making,” Zamiara said.

Garrett takes aim during a simulation alongside Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday.

The committee was born out of executive order 203, which charged police agencies to engage the community and offer input.

You can read more about Penal Law Article 35, ‘Defense of Justification’ here.