VIDEO: Shoot or don't shoot? Go inside the police's lethal force -

VIDEO: Shoot or don't shoot? Go inside the police's lethal force training simulator

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ST. LOUIS ( -- Forget everything you've thought about police gun battles that you've ever seen in Hollywood.

Officer Philip Green will tell you they are quick.

“On a whole they're two and a half seconds from start to finish,” the St. Louis police officer said. “The eyes and the mind have to perceive a threat and have to see it. For that to happen, we're looking at two-tenths to a quarter of a second.”

To simulate what it’s like to be in those crucial seconds before guns are drawn, the department uses something called a Laser Shot Machine. It simulates various scenarios as those learning to become officers are trained when to use- or not use- lethal force.

Trainees are placed in front of a video screen where scenarios play out in front of them. they use an exact replica of the service weapon SLMPD use. Pull the trigger, and it shoots an infrared beam.

For the past three months News 4’s Ray Preston went through the Citizens Academy at the St. Louis Police Department.

Graduation is Wednesday night, but he got first-hand experience inside the Laser Shot Machine. He got some scenarios right and some wrong. What he learned is how fast a situation goes from calm to life and death.

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