Winners of the 2010 law enforcement competition shoot:
• First place — Sgt. Brian Soper, Craig Police Department
• Second place — Officer Josh Martinez, Craig Police Department
• Third place — Dep. Mike Anthony, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office
Several Craig Police Department officers stood in the cold shade of a pavilion Wednesday morning loading ammunition into magazines.
Cpl. Alvin Luker said the officers were waiting for other law enforcement agencies to answer their invitation.
“We invited pretty much everybody in Northwest Colorado: (Division of Wildlife), state parks, Routt County, Steamboat, Rio Blanco, Rangely, Meeker, Baggs,” said Luker, of area sheriff offices and police departments.
The police department hosted a competition shoot, one planned to be between different agencies, at Bears Ears Sportsman Club on Moffat County Road 7.
But, there was one problem: most agencies invited didn’t show up to answer the invitation.
Other than local police officers, only one deputy from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office participated.
“November is kind of a crappy time to do it,” Luker said of the competition.
But, a small turnout didn’t prevent the police officers from firing away.
Luker set up three scenarios at three ranges. Each scenario pitted lawmen against the clock, running to different stages, shooting multiple targets and avoiding the “no-shoot” targets that represent civilians.
“The person with the least amount of time at the end wins,” he said.
Poor or off-target marksmanship added time to the shooters’ finishes.
“If they shoot too fast, the rounds might spread a little more, which adds more time,” he said. “So, if they try to shorten their time, they might end up lengthening it.
“It’s a balance between speed and accuracy.”
Luker said the officers used duty gear for the competition: Colt AR-15s and either 9 millimeter, .40-caliber or .45-caliber handguns.
“It’s law enforcement, regular duty gear,” Luker said. “Nothing special, no race guns. No competition gear.”
The first-, second- and third-place winners were Sgt. Brian Soper, of the police department, Officer Josh Martinez, of the police department, and Dep. Mike Anthony, of the sheriff’s office, respectively.
Soper said the secret to good shooting is simple.
“It’s just repetition,” the 13-year veteran said.
“I take every opportunity that I can to shoot. The more you practice, the quicker you are. That’s all there is to it.”
Luker said the department participates in training shoots seven to nine times a year.
In years past, the department has saved the last shoot of the year to compete against the sheriff’s office.
Domestic violence specialist Carolyn Miller, of the police department, said there hasn’t been a dominant agency in past competitions.
“It alternates every year,” she said. “There are good shooters at both agencies. It all depends on who shows up.”
As to why the other invited agencies didn’t participate, Cpl. Travis Young, of the police department, suggested it might have been weather-related.
“It’s probably the weather,” he said. “They don’t want to put on their winter clothes, yet.”