The 23-1 class at the Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center has already been trained on how to handle a gun.

Now 20 weeks into their 24-week training, TPD recruits are now learning how to react when bullets start flying at them.

Behind the Badge, the series:

Behind the Badge: TPD Recruits take on intense training

Behind the Badge: Recruits’ training stresses teamwork, accountability

Behind the Badge: How TPD recruits train for suspects violently resisting arrest

Behind the Badge: Protect and Swerve: TPD recruits get tested behind the wheel

Behind the Badge: Inside firearms training with TPD recruits

In a scenario where KGUNs Ryan Fish was given up-close access, the recruits are placed in a parking lot setting with several parked cars, tasked with stopping a gunman and helping an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire.

Draw the fire away from the victim, end the threat, and then go take care of them, said TPD Recruit Nich Flynn, describing the scenario. You gotta keep [the victim] safe. Theyre the main priority in that scenario.

It can happen at any point. Especially out in the field, TPD recruit Arlene Olguin said. You never know when someones gonna have a gun. So when you go out there, its just like, alright, prepare for the worst.

Their training has them preparing often, in several different settings.

Either inside, outside. During the day, during the night, said Olguin. So you get a feel for a little bit of everything.

The recruits, as well as the victim and gunman who are played by local law enforcement, wear a padded mask for protection. They use training guns that fire sim rounds, similar to an airsoft gun.

They are very painful, Olguin said of the rounds, which left a couple of bloody welts on her bare arm during the scenario.

Not gonna be as bad as an actual bullet. But you also think, like, when you get hit, like, that could have been an actual bullet.

In this scenario, both Olguin and Flynn ran out of bullets.

If youre out of ammo, what are you gonna do? Olguins instructor asked her in their debrief. Now [the gunman is] just dancing around you. At what point you just take your handcuff key and stab him in the eyeball? We gotta end that threat.

Just how to be more selective in what I do and try and think a couple steps ahead of what I wanna do, Flynn said, assessing his scenario. Dont really think about what I want to do right now but what I wanna do in two steps Kind of be ahead of the game.

Thats an important mindset to have in order to feel ready, even if its impossible to feel


when shots are fired.

I dont think youre ever comfortable, said Flynn. I dont think Ill ever be comfortable with it. But you get a little bit more comfortable when you know what to do.