A handful of Bixby citizens are taking on the role of police officers as part of the Citizen’s Police Academy.
Thursday, with direction from Bixby Police Corporal Michael Konshak, they worked on traffic stop simulations.
Traffic stops often cause anxiety for both the person being stopped and the officer, but instead of sitting in the driver’s seat, the Citizen’s Academy members became the officer standing outside.
In his simulation, Bixby Citizens Police Academy member Andrew Parker stopped a man for running a stop sign.
Parker said the driver’s body language was calm and he did everything asked.
During the simulation, Parker stepped away to the patrol car to run the man's name and said, “I was completely confident he was a nice guy who ran a stop sign.”
But, in just seconds of heading back to the driver, the nice guy turned into a shooter; and even though it was a fake scenario, Parker had no clue if the driver would shoot, or when.
“I'll be all right. That was terrifying," he said.
Parker was shaken up by how fast it happened, but it's a real possibility for the officers making the real stops.
"There's no such thing as a routine traffic stop," Konshak said.
He said the simulations are meant to take away some the mystery of how and why officers respond the way they do.
They typically do the simulations at night.
"It's much more difficult to see inside the suspect vehicle as you're walking up, and we want the people in the Citizen’s Police Academy to experience the same anxiety that officers do, and exhibit the same cautions," Konshak said.
Officers said they can do 100 stops and nothing happens, but all it takes is one to turn tragic, so they have to be on guard every time.
"The class has been an eye opener," Parker said.
The Citizen's Police Academy also does building search and domestic violence simulations.
It's too late to sign up this year but you can follow the academy on social media.