Ryan Bent is not a sheriff's deputy but a Yorba Linda resident who is getting a sense of how challenging the job is by playing out a training simulation involving a man with a knife taking a hostage in a courtroom.
"It was surreal, trying to assess your own abilities against what's really happening in a make believe scenario," said Bent.
The instructor for this use -of-force exercise is a real member of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
"That's what we teach our officers, you got to have a true assessment of your ability," said Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeff Hallock.
About 40 students are taking part in the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Citizens Academy. The goal of the nine week program is to give them a better understanding of law enforcement as well as what it takes to become a deputy. Classes focus on drug enforcement, K-9, patrol, investigations, gangs, crime analysis, emergency services, S.W.A.T., traffic enforcement and the criminal justice system.
"You see some type of police activity on your street, it provides a little insight into what some of t here officers or deputy sheriff's may be confronting at that given time," said Hallock.
Simulation tests their skills behind the wheel in various scenarios including a pursuit.
"We always want to get their safely and if we can get the bad guy, that's the best things possible," said Orange County Sheriff's Department Deputy Robert Carpenter.
The hands-on training also puts students on the range where they learn how to handle and fire a gun.
Participants have a new appreciation for the split second decisions that deputies make in dangerous situations.