Many students who participate in the experiment are are preparing for careers in law enforcement.
On a Friday afternoon in April, Texas State University freshman Kendyl Cutshall stopped by a research facility near campus to shoot a police officer for class credit. Inside a simulated classroom building at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) center near the Central Texas town of San Marcos, she donned protective eyewear as doctoral student Aaron Duron explained the scenario.
“You’ve committed a crime, and you’ve run from the police,” he said, handing her a modified 9mm Glock pistol that fires marking cartridges filled with blue detergent. “You’re thinking that if you shoot the responding officer, you’ll go home instead of going to prison. And you’ve only got one shot.”
Cutshall, clad in high-waisted jeans and a Texas State T-shirt, nodded. Duron directed her to stand in a corner of the room and then stepped outside, closing the door and turning off the lights. As Cutshall waited in the darkness, she raised the pistol and held her finger over the trigger.
Suddenly she heard a loud banging sound, the door swung open and the bright beam of a flashlight shone in her eyes. Cutshall squeezed the trigger. The soap-filled projectile missed Sam Stock, a former SWAT officer and a regional manager of training at the center, who returned fire with a blank. Across the hall, research specialist Bill Sandel watched the action on a closed-circuit…