Citizens Confront Real-World Scenarios at Ripon Police Department’s Open House

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RIPON -- The Ripon Police Department's open house demonstrated just what law enforcement is up against when confronted with lethal forces.

One display was the San Joaquin Sheriff's use of force simulator, where citizens were put into the shoes of officers. A suspect on the screen "shot" at citizen Fran Souza, who was armed with pepper spray, a taser and a handgun, before he made a move for any of his weapons.

"I was frozen...I didn't make it past the driveway," Souza said.

Outside visitors were shown Ripon police's newest non-lethal weapons, including a beanbag shotgun and a pepperball gun that can fire 90 balls filled with a pepper powder.

The idea is to avoid using deadly force when appropriate. Officers are well aware of public perception.

"We want to have those tools because no one wakes up in the morning and wants to use lethal force," said Ripon police Sgt. Mario Ysit.