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  • Take your best shot

    Tactical shooting competition sharpens skills of law enforcement
  • Local law enforcement is getting plenty of trigger time at a two-day tactical shooting competition that picks back up today at the Jackson County Sports Park shooting range.
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  • Local law enforcement is getting plenty of trigger time at a two-day tactical shooting competition that picks back up today at the Jackson County Sports Park shooting range.
    The public is welcome to watch about 50 mostly local police compete in the National Rifle Association's Tactical Police Competition, which begins at 8 a.m. and runs until about 5 p.m., said Marcus Lipp, manager of the NRA's law enforcement division.
    The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is in its third year of hosting the event, which is paid for completely by the NRA and its sponsors.
    Officers have to shoot their way through six skill- or scenario-based courses using a side arm, shotgun or assault rifle, and sometimes a mix of two.
    "It's valuable from the simple aspect that officers could face these situations on any service call," said sheriff's Deputy Phil Cicero. "When you screw up, that's what you really take away with you."
    There is an active school shooter scenario course. In another, a crazed cook who was fired from his job comes back armed and ready to shoot everyone inside the restaurant. Luckily for the diners, course five starts with the officer dropping a fake sandwich before beginning to fire back at the armed ex-cook and his assailants from a seat.
    "We always try to stay on top of the latest scenarios and techniques," Lipp said. "You can do a lot of this with computer simulation, but it's nothing like doing it with live fire."
    The competition and real-life scenarios add stress on the shooter, another valuable aspect of the competition for officers, Cicero said.
    "(Officers) really should be out here. You need to come out and get past the ego part of it. Nobody wants to mess up in front of everybody, but it's about what you can learn and how you can become a better shot," Cicero said. "It can prepare you to do a better job when you're faced with a real-life situation on duty."
    Shooters are timed during each course and penalty seconds are added to their overall time for missing a target's vitals area, shooting non-threat targets and other procedural errors, such as shooting from outside cover.
    Active or retired military personnel and retired law enforcement officers can also compete in the event, Lipp said, although registration for this year's competition is closed.
    He said the event will be held again next year at the county shooting range, 6900 Kershaw Road.
    The competition is held in six locations around the country, said Lipp, whose job is to make available NRA-supported training opportunities for law enforcement and military personnel.
    "It's safe and they have a really good time out here, but more importantly they learn what they need to improve on," Lipp said. "Before World War I the NRA decided we need to support law enforcement and military, and we've been doing it ever since ... it's just the right thing to do."
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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