One of the hardest jobs on the planet is being a police officer, no matter how you want to cut it they are sent to all of the dangerous situations in the world. Even the most routine parts of their jobs can put their life at risk but I don't think many citizens have a full understanding of the scope of their careers.

There is a certain appreciation that one gets when they go through something that they had never been before. You often hear phrases like "Oh you're better than me", "I have a newfound appreciation for such and such", "Wow that's harder than I thought", and more. This one-day program gives some ordinary citizens a peek into what life is like when you're working one of the most dangerous jobs on planet Earth.

The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy allows Kalamazoo County residents to step into the shoes of a Kalamazoo County Law Enforcement Officer for a day as they are run through a series of realistic and virtual situations. They were essentially officers for the day and got to learn and use most of the equipment that an officer carries daily plus some.

Attendees got a chance to perform CPR, handle a hostage situation, a robbery, a homicide, and many other virtual reality situations to test their skills. They were also able to shoot a 9mm Glock, a Semi-automatic assault rifle, and a shotgun before ending the day with a Q&A session with the officers to ask any questions they have ever wanted to ask an officer off the record.

I happen to have a second-hand account of the day as my mother participated in the Academy and had plenty to say. She was exhausted when she got home as it simulated a true shift time-wise for an officer but she said it was an extremely informational and beneficial experience. She recommends that everyone take the opportunity to learn.

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