STOCKTON (CBS13) — The Pacific Tigers are trading in their bats and gloves for badges as they train to be Stockton police officers, at least for a day.
It’s part of a national program that helps law enforcement improve the relationship between the community and officers.
Team work is just part of the important lesson being taught here, but Stockton police officers say that’s just half of it.
UOP baseball players, Nate Verlin and Lucas Halstad are on a domestic violence call for the Stockton police department. They are learning a routine call can quickly turn very dangerous.
“I just think in those situations, you really don’t know and all you know is that you want to protect yourself and your partner and keep people safe,” said Verlin.
The Pacific Tigers are training with the Stockton police department, but they are not actually on the street. Instead they are using a virtual reality simulator the same kind officers use to train.
“I still got adrenaline going. I mean, it was crazy because like they were talking about in there, there could have been several things in that back pocket. I could have been a wallet, could have been a gun, could have a knife, anything and you know you have to really anticipate and expect the worst in that situation,” said Halstad.
“There is really a sharing of not just information but a sharing of an understanding that i think is something that can move the relationships between police and the community forward,” said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones.
Students are learning about lethal force and when it’s necessary to use it. They also practice using less lethal force and the importance of having good communication skills.
“They may do traffic stops or they may be in the fight of their life, whether they have to defend or another’s life, they just don’t know and that is the very unique thing about policing is throughout the shift they never know where danger lurks,” he said.
The exercise is part of a national program that helps Stockton police create stronger relationships with the community and also build trust.
“I have a lot of respect for police officers, it kind of increases that respect,” said Verlin.
In return, the Stockton police have all been invited to be guest coaches for sporting events at the university.