PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Local police officer Gary Shilley knows firsthand about the dangers of police work.
“I was ambushed from behind the hood of a vehicle and he shot me in the face,” said Shilley.
That was in the South Hill Mall parking lot in 2006.
Now, he trains other officers on use of deadly force. His company, Defense Essentials, uses hundreds of different video scenarios to train officers on decision-making in life or death situations.
"You killed my mom, you killed my dad," yells a distraught teenager on one of the videos as she holds a gun to her head.
Shilley tries to talk her out of it. "You don't need to do that, drop the gun, please drop it," he pleads.
On the video, she takes her own life.
It's one of the many possible endings officers might have to respond to as they practice their verbal and response skills.
"I can see what's going on. They're telling me to kill them. I don't want to kill them. My objective is to stay alive. They point that gun at me, I have to use deadly force against them. I don't want to do that," said Shilley.
On another video, a man picks up a large rock and runs at officers, threatening them. It's similar to what happened in Pasco recently.
"You get hit in the head with a big enough rock or a hard enough rock, it can kill you -- and the officer has to think about that," said Shilley.
That hasn't stopped sharp criticism from the public. Shilley worries the media firestorm after every police shooting could cause officers to hesitate in dangerous situations.
"There gonna stop and second-guess themselves for a second and it may get them killed. God, I don't want to see that. Been there, done that and it's not a good place to be," said Shilley.
He thinks the public and media are too quick to judge following a shooting.
“Things are being added to these events that never even happened and the public is believing what’s going on, they’re not taking into account the officer’s situation, the decision he has to make, again, in a flash of a moment and to protect his life and go home," he said.
His goal is to give officers the keen mental awareness and tools they need when faced with a crisis.
"We`re trained to stop the threat, literally stop the threat and, hopefully, that doesn`t mean killing that person. If you end up using deadly force, it may end up being that the person dies, unfortunately, but that is not our goal," said Shilley.
He teaches similar classes to interested civilians and even holds seminars for neighbors on use of deadly force when confronted in their homes by a burglar.
For more information about the course, email Training@defenseessentials.com.