NC Sheriff's Firearms Training Simulator Deemed... Racist?


North Carolina’s Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has a new way of preparing for different gun-related scenarios. The department just received a new gun simulator to replace an older, 1980s version.


The simulator comes with 700 pre-recorded scenarios for deputies to work through. Each scenario plays on a projector screen. The deputy has to use a gun with a laser to shoot.

“Because if you can prepare people on what can happen and what may happen, it’ll give them a better response,” Sergeant Larry Grittion said. 

Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has also opened up the simulator to first time gun owners and those who are undergoing training requirements to obtain their concealed carry permit.

The decision for the simulator was made in April. The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted 7-2 to purchase the training device for the Guilford County Sheriff.

Initially, the simulator received criticism from those concerned about racial implications. Although the scenarios depict people of different ethnic backgrounds, deputies say the person’s skin color doesn’t matter.

“I’m going to be looking at what’s in their hands, what gun or threat is looking back at me, and trying to preserve either my life or another person’s life,” Captain Ken Whitesell said. “Race, at that point, is very irrelevant to me. They could put a mask on everyone, and that would be perfectly fine.”


Commissioner Ray Trapp, who voted against the spending measure, argued that having different ethnicities was unacceptable. His reasoning? Most robberies take place with the suspect wearing a mask over his or her face.

“Do you have any idea why you’d have to identify ethnicity at all?” Trapp asked. “Why wouldn’t that be more appropriate than being able to identify the person who’s coming in?”

According to a breakdown provided to commissioners back in April, the simulator depicts an attacker as being:

  • Caucasian 60 percent of the time.
  • African American 15 percent of the time.
  • Hispanic 15 percent of the time.
  • Asian five percent of the time.
  • Middle Eastern five percent of the time.

A total of $51,850 in federal forfeiture funds was spent on the simulator.

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