A sheriff's department put reporters through police shooting scenarios to show them 'the difficulty of a split-second decision'

After watching recent fatal police shootings in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina garner national media attention, one sheriff invited reporters from local news outlets to experience for themselves "the difficulty of a split-second decision" officers make.

The Lexington County Sheriff's Department in South Carolina filmed the reporters being thrust into policing scenarios and handling simulated traffic stops and encounters that quickly turned violent.

Related: Protests erupt in North Carolina after fatal police shooting

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Second night of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shootings
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Second night of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after police shootings
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People put cargo from tractor trailers on a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests in the early hours of September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The protests began last night, following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: A police officer attempts to extinguish a fire on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
People gather in front of the Ritz-Carlton in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A window at City Smoke is smashed in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
A man stands on a car in uptown Charlotte, NC to protest the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Two people sit on the ground as they protest in front of police in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
A man peers through the damage to the Hyatt House hotel in uptown Charlotte, NC that happened during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
People run from flash-bang grenades in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Demonstrators march against the Charlotte police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People maneuver amongst tear gas in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Protesters smash a police van in uptown Charlotte, NC during a protest of the police shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Miczek
Protesters march during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester in Charlotte, North Carolina was fatally shot by a civilian during a second night of unrest after the police killed a black man, officials said. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters face riot police during a demonstration against police brutality in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott the previous day. A protester shot during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina on was critically wounded, the city said, after earlier reporting that the person had died. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protesters tend to a seriously wounded protester in the parking area of the the Omni Hotel during a march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Residents gather for a vigil and march to protest the death of Keith Scott September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Scott, who was black, was shot and killed at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte by police officers, who say they warned Scott to drop a gun he was allegedly holding. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Students take part in a lie-in at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016 in protest against police brutality following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott nearby the previous day. The mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina appealed for calm Wednesday after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Students take part in a lie-in at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 21, 2016 in protest against police brutality following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. The mayor of Charlotte appealed for calm Wednesday after a night of violent protests and looting sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black man said to have been armed with a handgun. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers hold their line during protests on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers remove a man from his vehicle on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: People block traffic on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests in the early hours of September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The protests began last night, following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 21: Police officers face off with protestors on the I-85 (Interstate 85) during protests following the death of a man shot by a police officer on September 21, 2016 in Charlotte, NC. The protests began the previous night following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott at an apartment complex near UNC Charlotte. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
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The video went viral after it was posted to the department's social media channels on Wednesday. In it, reporters can be seen firing mock weapons at armed aggressors and describing how the exercises made them think differently about officer-involved shootings.

"We rarely hear from the officers after a shooting happens because of a whole host of reasons, but I just think this gave me the perspective that I needed to even more fairly report on these kinds of things," Joyce Koh, of local CBS affiliate WLTX 19, said in the video.

"While other people have hours and days and weeks to review body-cam footage and dash-cam footage, you have to make that decision right then, right there and go with your gut and do what you think will get you home at night," ABC Columbia's Beth Rousseau said.

Watch the video below:

The video prompted a flurry of response on the department's Facebook page. As of Friday, it has been viewed nearly six million times and received tens of thousands of shares.

Users' reactions were mixed, with some lauding the effort to coax media into understanding police officers' perspectives. But many others questioned the exercise and wondered why the video's emphasis was on armed aggressors, rather than unarmed black civilians — as was the case in the recent fatal shootings of Alfred Olango in El Cajon and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa.

"I notice that in all the videos shown here, the 'perps' all actually pulled guns. I don't believe that's the case in the vast majority of police stops," one user, Brian Otto, commented.

While the department's video only shows scenarios in which the perpetrators were clearly armed and ready to fire, Sheriff Jay Koon told Business Insider the reporters did handle more ambiguous situations, including aggressive but unarmed or "mentally agitated" individuals.

Those clips weren't in the department's video due to "time constraints," Koon said, but some were included in the reporters' segments they later aired.

Koon added that each of the scenarios the reporters were put through were based on actual calls the department's officers have responded to.

"We believe the few hours they spent in our training session (on Wednesday) will provide valuable context to them as they report on the next officer-involved shooting covered by their outlet," Koon said in a statement.

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