My conservation club has a pistol and rifle range. Two weeks ago I had taken a friend, who is not a member, and his two sons to sight in their rifles for hunting season. While there, we met a couple of policemen who were there practicing with an AR15. When they drove up in the squad car it made my friend nervous but I told him cops come out all the time and shoot. Nothing to be concerned about. These two were quite friendly, decent guys.
The other day I'm walking over to the pistol range to try out some new ammo for my Kahr and I see four guys allready shooting. One of them is one of the policemen from two weeks ago, this time in regular clothes. He remembers me so we chat a little and then get on with shooting.
Fifteen minutes later two more guys arrive, both in civilian clothes, but one has a duty belt on that looks ready for war in dowtown Detroit. We are at the ten yard section of the range and they are at the fifteen. The corner of the two dirt banks obscures your vision if someone is at the far end of the fifteen.
I get down on my duffel bag rest and concentrate on a shot, and let off a round. Immediately from around the dirt bank comes "Mr Combat" screaming his head off! Somehow he had gone up to put up a target, without saying anything, and all five of us had not seen him.
I told him I was sorry and was concentrating and didn't see him, and immediately put my pistol down. He wasn't satisfied with that and continued to wave his arms around raving like a madman. So I say, "I said I'm sorry, what more do you want me to do?". One of the guys in our group asks why didn't he announce he was going forward? He's still not satisfied and suddenly produces a badge, waving it around, saying he's going to call the State Police and have me arrested for reckless endangerment. The officer next to me yells out, "I've got one of those too, buddy".
That did the trick and the badge flasher quit hollering. The officer in my group says, "There's always one, isn't there".
What would you have done? LEO's, especially, what do you say?
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December 2, 2006, 03:58 PM
My first thought is that its not very smart to have a berm in the middle of the range too big to tell if there is someone behind it or not.
December 2, 2006, 04:10 PM
The RSOs at the ranges I go to have to deal with this regularly. Some cops are very good about range safety. Some are complete <bad words that would violate THR's terms of service> idiots. In short, they're just like everybody else. The usual response is to treat them like everyone else including asking them to leave if they do something grossly unsafe. If they start waving the badge around or talking about their connections in the Department something along the lines of "Fine. Let's talk to your Captain about it the next time he comes down to practice," can do wonders.
December 2, 2006, 04:19 PM
Sounds the setup of that range isn't very safe. At the one I go to occasionally, everyone opens their actions, lays down the gun and gets behind the firing line, announces "Range Cold!" when everyone is behind the line, then you can go put up targets. It doesn't go hot until everyone is back and behind the line again.
It sounds like he was either a power tripping hot-head, or maybe you scared the crap out of him and he's mad he's gotta now change his pants :D
December 2, 2006, 04:28 PM
i think you are asking about the off duty cop flashing his badge to "win an argument."
i think that is not much better than one civilian opening his jacket to show he is carrying a firearm to win an argument with another civilian (something taught in the Texas CHL class not to do - don't use a firearm to win an argument type-of-thing)
i think the badge flashing is appropriate only if some sort of legal action is going to be taken. it appears in your story that he may have begun to initiate some sort legal action (calling uniformed, on-duty police) but stopped because he realized that there were other off-duty LEOs present that probably didn't think the actions were so grossly negligent that someone needed to be called or immediate action needed to be taken.
so i guess it really depends on what his intent was. if it was merely to win a argument, probably inappropriate display of the badge. if it was to initiate some sort of police action, then i'd say appropriate.
December 2, 2006, 04:32 PM
This is proof that anyone regardless of occupation can act stupidly, also frankly I think it warrents a letter to his C/O. Especially if written or submitted by the other officer.
December 2, 2006, 04:36 PM
At times like that, how you say something is almost more important than what you actually say. Imagine how you'd feel if you were the one down range. I'm sure "Mr. Combat" was scared, angry, embarrassed, etc. etc. all at the same time.
While you're right in saying that about the only thing you can do is say you're sorry, I'm sure he wanted to hear more, and I'm equally sure that nothing you could have said at that momemt would have been enough for him.
About the only action you could have taken would be to remain silent and calm, and let him vent his emotions. I doubt he would/could have arrested you himself, and if he had called other officiers they would have come to the conclusion that you hadn't been reckless. Once he got it all out of his system, you'd be better able to express you regrets again, but also point out how he had contributed to the problem.
Though in your situation I might just let the whole issue drop, I think I'd also bring up to the club's BoD the whole badge waving issue. As tellner said, cops have no more (or less) rights than any other members (if they are members at all) and shouldn't be throwing their badge in other members' faces, and give themselves more authority within the club.
If the board won't address it, maybe contact Mr. Combat's department, and let them in on how he conducted himself.
December 2, 2006, 04:52 PM
I would apologize just like how you did it. The part about him waving his arms around still dissatisfied with the apology I would of handled differently by telling him he didn't clear the range. Then I would ask others around me if they heard him call for a cease fire. If everyone says "No" then I would end it in a calm manner saying something like this:
"Looks like this case is closed. Next time clear the range or else I'll have you reported. Now please leave my alone."
If he didn't get out of my face right then and there, I'd pack up my stuff and report him that day for an unsafe act and for harrassment.
December 2, 2006, 05:13 PM
"I have one of those too, buddy."
That must of made Mr. Power Trip feel REAL good. :p
Harry Paget Flashman
December 2, 2006, 05:31 PM
Ranges are either hot or cold. Sounds like Mr. Combat should have determined the status before going downrange to set targets. You were gracious to have apologized but I'd have been at least as upset about how something so unsafe could happen. He'd have gotten back as good as he'd given to me. (I always excuse myself by calling it "righteous indignation.) Safety foremost. When our range goes cold I like to watch everyone step away from the firing line and get headed toward the targets before I go. It doesn't hurt to keep looking over your shoulder too.
December 2, 2006, 06:27 PM
Well for one... Going downrange without the rangemaster saying that the range is clear equals NO NO! Its the dummies fault for going down range when the range is hot. I personally would've called his supervisor and told him that his troop is a dumbass. lol
December 2, 2006, 07:11 PM
I don't know what they teach these days, but we were told that when out of uniform never to show police ID or a badge unless necessary or unless the situation was such that it could lead to a possible arrest. We were also specifically told not to try to use police ID for private ID purposes (like check cashing) or to gain favors, like going to the head of a ticket line or getting out of a traffic ticket. Using a badge to bully someone is a no-no. That kind of stuff warrants at least a reprimand; it brings the force into disrepute.
December 2, 2006, 07:22 PM
At the club I shoot at, the whole range was shut down for a year a number of years back; a bullet exited the range and hit a house.
The incident was the only safety violation in the club's history. It was caused because they let the local town police department use the range for free. The police came down, with alcohol no less, and essentially shot up the place, including letting one fly backwards out of the range somehow.
So ... that's why they don't let the police department use the range anymore.
December 2, 2006, 08:45 PM
The guy was an idiot for going forward without being CERTAIN the entire range was cold.
End of discussion.
There certainly was an instance of reckless endangerment. The idiot recklessly endangered himself by walking out onto a hot range.
December 2, 2006, 09:41 PM
See thats why we need Military Combat Arms instructors as firearms instructing officers.
December 3, 2006, 01:53 AM
Nothing you could have done different. The range design and his failure to announce conspired against you. Good thing there were other cops there...you couldn't "win" with just him.
I've had a person fire when I was down range and in plain view after announcing "cold". New comer with bad eyes I guess, the guy next to me got a bit irate...I was just back from Iraq, figured it wasn't an IED, so no biggie. I just waved and said; "Hey, down range!". The guy left in embarrasment before we got back to the line. It was a .22, we heard the report, but not the impact so it didn't hit very close to us.
December 3, 2006, 04:43 AM
that he might not have been a cop at all. May have been a reserve officer with a bad case of 'wanna-be', or a rookie officer who's badge was "Heavy", by which I mean he is the type to abuse his authority. We have all seen the 'bully with a badge' type, who thinks he is billy joe badazz just because someone screwed up and hired him as a cop. I am glad your friend the cop yanked his chain and shut him up. He messed up by going down-range on a hot range, and it was not your fault. Hope you have no more problems out of him in the future.
December 3, 2006, 05:55 AM
What would you have done?
Tell him to dance? :D
December 3, 2006, 07:08 AM
Are the range breaks at your club indicated by verbal agreement only? Or is there any other reminder the range is closed?
At my club, next to every shooting position, there is a big red button that you press to call a range break. When you press it a warning siren sounds once and rotating redlights come on for the duration of the break. However, before you can press the button you have to ask everyone if they are ready for a break and wait for them to unload, clear, safety, and set down their weapons. Then they have to step back behind a line on the ground. It does not always work that way however, but fortunately the idiots managed to break protocol on a busy shooting day when all of the club management was present.
December 3, 2006, 10:10 AM
I can't condone what "Mr. Combat" did, by displaying his badge in an "I'm tougher than you" manner, but....
Several years ago, I went out shooting in a remote desert area with several of my shooting buddies. One of them brought along a neighbor, who was supposedly a knowledgeable and safe shooter. All total, there were 7 of us....6 of which were LEO's (the neighbor was not a LEO).
One of my buddies set up the usual "firing line", which was merely a line in the dirt. He also made sure to tell the neighbor that the line was to stand behind while shooting. The neighbor even humorously commented about it being a "line in the sand".
Well, the only person who "violated" that "line in the sand" was the neighbor! Not once, but TWICE! The first time was when he walked out to inspect his target....without saying a thing. Fortunately, the other shooters noticed his actions, and quickly grounded their weapons. The neighbor was politely asked to "Yell before going up to the targets".
The second "violation" was almost like he was trying to stage a "Wild west gunfight", for he was standing at the firing line with his weapon holstered, then started moving forward briskly as he un-holstered and started firing from the hip! By the time he fired 6 rounds, he was a good 15' ahead of the firing line!
Score: 6 LEO's that practised safely, 1 supposedly knowledgeable and safe CITIZEN that would never be invited along in the future!
December 3, 2006, 12:13 PM
The conflict had everything to do with the person not the profession. A person messed up and was scared/confused/embarrased so they lashed out. IMHO you handled the situation well.
December 3, 2006, 01:54 PM
What a suicidal idiot. If you go downrange without getting everyone to agree to cease fire you are a moron with a death wish.
December 3, 2006, 02:40 PM
Are you sure it was a genuine police badge, or was it a genuine CCW badge? :neener:
December 3, 2006, 02:52 PM
I wonder why he didn't call for a "cease fire"? Sounds like he broke a very basic safety rule.
December 3, 2006, 02:56 PM
I've posted the details of an incident I had in 1999 with a good friend of mine while target shooting on a state game range. A sworn LEO with the PGC(PA game commission) came onto the pistol range claiming we were doing everything but making moonshine and tearing tags off of mattresses :D .
This a-hole also said were we shot our handguns while people on a seperate range(rifle-shotgun) were walking back and forth to change targets. I explained to the LEO that the other shooters NEVER said anything and that from where we were we could not see them. :cuss:
We got a formal ticket, both pled NOT GUILTY and were later given a refund when the district justice agreed with our statements.
December 3, 2006, 03:05 PM
Just my guess but the guy waving around the badge hasnt been a cop for very long .
December 3, 2006, 03:37 PM
Why would you ever walk down range when people are shooting or about to shoot? Mr. Badge is the one that owes you an apology.
December 3, 2006, 04:39 PM
I'm guessing a momentary lapse of reason followed by acute embarrassment. He covered up the embarrassment by woofing at someone he thought he could bully.
December 3, 2006, 07:41 PM
The range where I used to shoot (before buying my own acreage) had a similar big berm between the pistol and rifle ranges. Though they were side by side, there really was no reasonable way that a pistol shot could land on the rifle range, unless perhaps it was an extremely underpowered round that was fired very high and just dropped over the berm like a rock.
It never bothered me to be downrange on the rifle side with somebody actively shooting on the pistol side, but if I was on the pistol side and somebody asked me to cease fire while they went down range, I did so cheerfully.
Oh and BTW, the trap/skeet portion was a few hundred yards behind both of them, aimed toward your back.;)
December 3, 2006, 10:13 PM
It sounds like he made the classic "assume" when he posted the targets. A rookie who failed to clear the range and made an ... of himself and the badge he wore!:barf:
December 4, 2006, 01:00 AM
'...came onto the pistol range claiming we were doing everything but making moonshine and tearing tags off of mattresses.'
That is quite possibly the funniest thing that I've ever read on an internet message board.
December 4, 2006, 09:33 AM
Had something like that happen to us on a hike. We were in the Talladega National Forest and had pitched our tents next to Morgan Lake after hiking 14 miles through mountainous terrain. We were dead tired and wanted nothing more than sleep. We went down around 7:00 PM, after dark, next to a gravel drive for the lake. This is a small lake with only one access and no facilities other than the gravel path. We arrived before dark, say 5:00 PM, and were bedded down as I said around 7:00 PM in two tents, four guys, and two dogs.
At some point we heard some vehicles driving up. Roused, I sat up in my tent and looked at my roomie and asked the time, wondering why anyone would come out to the lake at that terrible hour (thinking it was somewhere around 3:00AM). It turned out it was only 9:00PM. At that moment, red and blue lights began to spin and a spotlight was pointed to our tents (actually two lights from two different cruisers). At that point, we heard a gruff voice call out to us that they had a report that people were doing drugs out at the lake. There was no truth at all to that lie as nobody had come out to the secluded lake since we arrived and we had been there for four hours. Well, my dog was trying to poke her head through the tent door while I was trying to get out of my sleeping bag when the voice said "you better come out now." I yelled out that I was getting out of my sleeping bag and trying to pull my dog away from the tent flap (didn't want my collie to get shot). I poked my head out and said we were not doing drugs, that we had hiked 14 miles that day and had left a Jeep Cherokee parked at a trail head on another highway. I told him that nobody had driven there since we had arrived and that all we wanted to do was go to sleep because our pickup location was sill 30 miles away.
At that point, my friend who was getting impatient called from the other tent "They can take me in if they want, I'll get to sleep on a bed in a heated room." I groaned and looked up at the blinding light (looking stoned, I'm sure, after having been wakened from 2 hours sleep and squinting like I ate a lemon into the light). They turned their lights off and without a word drove away. I hate when LEO's blatantly lie. There was absolutely no way anyone had seen us to report anything. Nobody had driven up and we were miles away from any houses. What they were doing there I could not say, but there was no need to lie to us. They could have easily asked what we were doing and we would have told them no problem. We did tell them, the accusation that we were doing something illegal was uncalled for.
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