CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Cape Girardeau Police Department held their 3rd annual Citizens Police Experience on Saturday.
Dozens of people came out to the event and experienced several areas of what police officers deal with on a daily basis, such as domestic abuse calls, foot pursuits, hostage calls and more.
Cape Girardeau Police Chief Wes Blair said this is a great way to educate people as to what police officers go through. They wanted the community to come in and experience this in a controlled environment.
"We found that it really opens the eyes of a lot of people," Blair said. "They just get what they see maybe on TV shows, or things like that, which is not reality. This gives them a good dose of what the people that are protecting them day and night are really going through."
Alex Major is a forensic chemistry student at SEMO. She said this is an eye-opening experience.
"I've learned that it's a lot harder than people think," Major said. "It's a lot more stressful. You have to make split second decisions that can either get you or someone else hurt. It's extremely difficult."
Jade Peel is a graduate student at SEMO and majors in forensic science. He said he wanted to see what it's like and what takes place at these scenes before the investigators come in afterward.
"We kind of do the behind the scenes after the police go in and get everything settled and calm everything down," Peel described. "So it's cool to see what goes on before we actually get there to the crime scene and see what all takes place and how the situation is dealt with."
Blair said this event is about building advocacy for their profession through everyday citizens. He said this will help people debunk certain myths they see on social media during situations that are shown to the public.
"They can say, no, I've been through it and I know exactly what they're talking about and that's not right," Blair said.
"I think that, from now on, anytime I hear anytime anything about like, 'oh maybe they should have done this.' From now on, I'm going to think that we don't know what all that was happening right then," Major said. "They had no time at all to think about what they were doing and I'm glad that I understand that and hope that I can tell other people the same thing."
Blair said he thinks they are learning that in their world, there is a lot of gray area scenarios they are in.
"Not everything is always this or always that," Blair explained. "It's always in the middle somewhere and we have to go through and decipher what the truth is."
Blair also said this was another great event to where residents can interact with and talk with the officers to get to know them better.
"It's building that rapport with our community which we all know is what we are all about here in Cape Girardeau, building those relationships," Blair said.