DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A man kills his ex-girlfriend, shoots a cop, and charges with an AK-47 at other cops, who shot him dead.

A knife-wielding woman, known to have a mental illness, bangs on a door when the police arrive and manage to peacefully disarm and handcuff her.

It’s all a simulation. But it looks real. And that’s the point.

“By training in a scenario-based environment what we’re doing is actually developing sort of subconscious files in that long-term memory” of the brain, explained Lt. Tim Fetzer of Pennsylvania State Police — and long-term memory, he said, is what guides police when they have to make quick decisions.

Friday’s training, in turn, was run by the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC). The trainees were trainers who disseminate what they learn to others in their department.

FLETC runs similar training elsewhere in Pennsylvania and nationally but had never before invited media to witness a training.

“Policing’s evolving rapidly,” Fletcher said. Training like Friday’s, he said, would have been rare before about 2014.

One reason?

“Are police officers under more scrutiny now than they were maybe 30 years ago when I first came on the job? Yes, they are,” said Todd Hoover, a FLETC lead instructor.

“For a long time, use of force in most training environments was considered sort of a tangent” to areas then considered more core. Now, use-of-force training is core, Hoover said, in many departments.

He said a big part of use-of-force decision-making for officers is understanding the context of a situation before they arrive at a scene. It was reasonable to think the man who had allegedly murdered his ex-girlfriend and fired at another cop, and who was charging at them with a semi-automatic rifle, would kill them if they didn’t kill him. It was reasonable, on the other hand, to think the incident with the mentally-ill woman — who they knew before arriving at the “scene” could be problematic when she didn’t take her medication but who could also have productive interactions — could end peacefully.

“Some of our training doesn’t actually end in a use of force so that we make sure we teach them that is a possible outcome,” said Dion DeRoya, a FLETC instructor. In fact, he noted, most police calls don’t end with the use of force.

Why invite the media to the training?

“It’s a good idea for folks to see and understand some of how this dynamic works,” said Hoover, a Pennsylvania native, and longtime PSP employee before he joined the feds.