EXCLUSIVE: Lea County Sheriff invites our reporter to try lethal force training


HOBBS, N.M. (Big 2/Fox 24) – Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton says every second is critical in these scenarios, and Jake Eichstaedt found out first hand. The 6 real-life simulations – ranging from a school shooting to a traffic stop were stressful, to say the least. Some required lethal force and some worked with de-escalation tactics.

This training – which has thousands of scenarios – happens multiple times a week for all levels of deputies – from brand new to decades of experience on the force.

These guys, you don’t want them to be too afraid to do their job or be aggressive in their job, and that’s a fine balance, and if you can provide them that real-life realism, it benefits them.

Corey Helton, Lea County Sheriff

The simulations have different results based on the reaction of the person doing the training – be it what they say or how they act. After assessing each scenario – 6 of the 7 simulations I tried resulted in unnecessary loss of life – 3 times my own life. The sheriff says their main goal is to preserve the life of both the deputy and those around.

A cordial normal encounter in someone that can be deadly in three seconds. That’s what we face today and we are expected to be right all the time.

Corey Helton, Lea County Sheriff

The purpose of me trying the training was to show how hard it is. But Helton says the added scrutiny of police – has made it even harder for deputies to do their job.

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