NORMAN — Shots rang out and cut through the silence of the morning air on Friday as law enforcement from agencies across the region gathered for the Dale DeBerry Police Pistol Competition in Norman.
The competition was hosted at the Norman Police Department’s firearms range where 20 spots lined the range waiting for shooters to begin the first match, for the targets to turn and for the shooting to begin.
Norman Police Sgt. Shon Elroy said the competition is an opportunity to expose officers to a stressful shooting situation and mimic the stress that could be experienced during a real shooting situation while on duty. The competition also helps firearms instructors, he said.
“Many officers also teach firearms, so it’s one of the best ways to prepare firearms instructors,” Elroy said.
Sgt. William Crews, who won the shotgun competition Thursday, said a large portion of the Norman police team are firearms instructors, so it helps them train their officers through the lessons and techniques learned while competing.
“In the very unfortunate case that they may need their gun on the street, they’ll be able to do it effectively, not put anybody else at risk, defend themselves and go home at the end of the day,” Crews said.
He also said since the competition brings in shooters from several states, they are able to compare techniques and talk about things that worked or didn’t work. It also gives them a sense of camaraderie at something that’s worthwhile and fun, he said.
“My favorite part is to do well on the line,” Crews said. “It is a lot of hard work, it is a lot of practice time and you spend hours of a day in preparation, but when you get on the line and do well, it makes you feel exhilarated that your skills are where they need to be to win.”