ATF drills show split-second decisions that agents make daily

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Friday offered a chance to go behind the scenes with the ATF and for the federal prosecutors working these cases, it offers valuable insight 

A drill that includes a decision to deploy a Taser instead of deadly force.  For these assistant U.S. attorneys, employees with the U.S. magistrates, and interns - it's a lesson in what law enforcement deals with every day.

"It is a lot of times a split-second decision to decide what option they're going to have at their disposal - which one they should use," said Special Agent James Soper, ATF.

FOX 2 photographer, Jim Kelel joined the training, shooting a machine gun with ATF special agent and firearms instructor, Kevin Arnett.

"It allows them to get a chance to familiarize themselves with handguns, assault rifles, and in today's society right now assault rifles is a big subject matter right now," Arnett said.

This range day with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms also allowed a chance to learn about the Army's helicopter capabilities and for Chad from the Michigan State Police Canine Unit - to demonstrate his skills.

All of it is designed to give these civilians a better understanding of what happens on the front lines.

"These are all young kids, they are going to go in different avenues - some will be prosecutors, some judges, some will be defense attorneys," said Special Agent in Charge James Deir, ATF. "At the end of the day, hopefully it just gives them a broader perspective of what law enforcement deals with on a daily basis and the split-second decisions."
It is all insight you can't get in a courtroom or a classroom.

"It's one thing to hear about what our agents do and what the situation is like, it is another to see how fast things move and how you have to make decisions," said Jennifer Newby.

"It's fascinating to see what goes on the front lines," said Jason Raymond, legal intern U.S. Attorney's Office. "And to get the training these officers have is worthwhile for the legal questions we might see in a courtroom."