Police familiarity (or not) with weapons is a perennial topic wherever gunnies are found and perhaps nowhere more than at the range.
Sunday, not so much, but Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range is IMPD's home range through the week and I believe it gets used for training that includes other nearby departments, so the general subject was on my mind as I drove home from an hour of making .22 bullets go downrange.
The Usual Lines:
1. LEO shows up first time at a public range, and assumes his (or her) badge/training/whatever confers some kind Police Specialness that exempts him from whatever safety-lecture (test, release form, etc.) boilerplate the range uses. General harrumphing ensues. --Okay, kids, he is in the wrong, but be gentle; a lot of police are not hobby-shooters, many are rarely around ranges (thanks to scant training budgets and shorter available time) and they're used to being the only person in their immediate vicinity who knows which end the fast lead comes out of. There's going to be a learning curve.
2. LEO shows up and is not all that great a shot. --What, you expected them to all be snipers? See above, and bear in mind that while police are armed, they really aren't getting paid to go be low, middle and high justice, ventilatin' malefactors right and left; just like you, if Officer Friendly's got to shoot outside a range, something went badly wrong. Neverthless, mild amusement is often the end result at the range if the cops are making Swiss cheese.
Fun though it may be to channel a little indignation or amusement, I think that's a bad approach.
It's important to make law-enforcement folks feel welcome and comfortable and if they don't know the ropes, don't be any more harsh than you would be to any newbie -- and this is not because they are a specially special bunch to whom y'should kowtow but because this is one group of individuals out there in the world you can count on to be armed -- and who are, in fact, expected to use deadly force in some situations. We -- you, me, society in general -- are better off when the police are good shots. They get better the same way everyone else does: by practicing. Their department is unlikely to go much past whatever the minimum requirement might be, and where does that leave the LEO who wants to improve?
It leaves him or her in the lane next to yours, trying to grasp a cultural niche police are not necessarily all that familiar with. They need to be; we need 'em to grok that "unbadged citizen with a gun" is not usually a bad thing -- and we need them to shoot well when they've got to shoot.
You don't have to be a holster-sniffer -- heck, you don't even have to all that fond of your local Protecters-And-Servers -- to understand that some day, you could be in the vicinity of live fire by the police -- and far better they should hit their target than hit you. (Or even, [TINFOIL HAT ON], should the balloon go up, far better they swap fire with you and not take out Mary Lou Bystander, age 6, in the process [TINFOIL HAT OFF].)
Treat law enforcers like any other citizen at the range -- because that's what they are. No better and no worse.
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