Not only did Philip Hemphill manage to hold on to his first place finish from last year during the Distinguished Revolver Match, but he also broke the national record.

This year's third place finisher, Officer Greg Abraham with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, held the previous record from his performance in 2006 with a score of 281-10x. In the 2008 Distinguished Revolver Match, Hemphill came very close to breaking the record with a score of 281-7x, but he would have to wait another year. During the match yesterday, Hemphill fired his way to a score of 286-10x, a substantial lead over the previous national record.

Hemphill is not new top honors, being the nine-time winner of the National Police Shooting Championships as well as the 2007 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

The Return of Hemphill

As I was walking down the line of competitors outside the Award Office, bribing them to check out NRAblog.com, I came across NPSC legend Philip Hemphill, pictured above during his NRAnews interview.

I asked him how it felt to be at NPSC for the first time in a decade as a non-competitor. "It feels strange," he said. "It's really hard because I always want to help people, but as a referee, you just can't. If I see someone with a bad stance, I want to go over and help them. It's hard to keep from giving advice."

This echoes the remarks NRA President John Sigler made last night when presenting Hemphill with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. "He is always willing to help, particularly new shooters, even right before a competition when he knows he needs to be focusing on the game," Sigler said.

Diana DuniganWith the deadline for nominations this Monday, September 1, for the 2008 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, I thought I would blog about one more story.

Here's the story of Diana Dunigan, 1997 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Dunigan was a 10-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, an NRA Life Member and an NRA-certified police firearm instructor. She serves in the department's Mounted Patrol Division, riding Apache, a 7-year-old thoroughbred.

On July 14, 1997, Officer Dunigan was on mounted patrol with another female officer when she observed a man breaking into a vehicle. She dismounted and approached to investigate. Seeing the officer, the man fled to an accomplice's car, which the pair used to run Officer Dunigan down. Striking her, the suspect pinned Officer Dunigan's left leg under the vehicle and dragged her several feet before she could get clear.

The suspects then made a second attempt to strike her. Ignoring her injuries, Officer Dunigan responded by reaching into the vehicle to subdue her assailants and, with the aid of her partner, placed them under arrest. Only then did Officer Dunigan allow herself to be rushed to a hospital for emergency medical treatment. In the months since, she has undergone several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation to restore full use of her leg.

Officer Dunigan is a skilled NRA Police Pistol Combat shooter with several state, regional and national titles and a number of national Police Pistol Combat records.

She is a firm believer in firearm safety and education and has devoted an enormous amount of time instructing women in the Philadelphia area about gun safety, shooting proficiency, personal protection, home safety and self-assertiveness. As a liaison between local businesses and the Philadelphia Police Department, she conducts community-based meetings on drug problems, home safety evaluations and town watch programs.

Officer Dunigan's unswerving devotion to duty, her outstanding record of service to her department and to the community, her commitment to the NRA and its goals and her extraordinary heroism in the face of extreme personal danger are traits worthy of great praise and emulation by her fellow officers and NRA members.

NRA's Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was established in 1993 and recognizes exceptional valor, public service, and dedication to the principles of our Constitutional heritage. This award is sponsored in part by an endowment donation by Component Engineers, Inc. of Wallingford, Connecticut.

To obtain an entry form for nominating a candidate for the 2008 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, click here. Again, entry forms must be completed and submitted by September 1, 2008. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee's agency head or by an NRA member. Nominations must also be endorsed by an NRA Life Member.

For more information, call 703-267-1649 or send email to ebailiff@nrahq.org.

Rick SmithThe National Rifle Association selected Trooper John Richard "Rick" Smith as its 2006 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Trooper Smith was selected for this distinguished award based upon his acts of valor on August 20, 2006, in Midlothian, Texas.

On that day, Trooper Smith and other members of his shift monitored a police radio transmission of "Shots Fired -- Officers Down" from the Midlothian Police Department. Smith and four other Texas state troopers immediately responded to the call and quickly arrived on the scene. Smith was first to reach the incident, and found that three Midlothian police officers had been shot by a gunman when they attempted to investigate a complaint of a bullet breaking a nearby window. When the Texas troopers arrived, the gunman was barricaded in his apartment. Two of the wounded officers were pinned down and were unable to move to safety.

Smith and his fellow troopers provided cover, which allowed paramedics to remove one of the wounded officers from the scene. The other officer was trapped in an exposed position and was immobilized from five gunshot wounds. Trooper Smith left his place of cover and ran into the open area to assist the wounded officer. Exposing himself to the gunman's fire, Trooper Smith was soon joined by two other troopers and managed to pull the injured officer to safety.

Click here to read the rest of the story. You can download a nomination form for the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The deadline is September 1st.
Philip HemphillThe National Rifle Association selected Captain Philip Hemp­hill of the Mississippi Highway Pa­trol as its 2007 Law En­force­ment Officer of the Year. Cap­tain Hemphill boasts an im­pres­sive record of ded­i­ca­tion to firearm training and marks­man­ship as well as a leg­a­cy as a nine-time winner of the Na­tion­al Police Shooting Cham­pi­on­ships (NPSC).

The NPSC matches consistently draw the world's top police marksmen, and while Captain Hemphill exudes modesty, his skill is unmatched among fellow competitors. Captain Hemphill holds the distinct honor of being the first police officer to win both the NPSC and the police title at NRA's National Matches at Camp Perry in conventional pistol. His 16 years of conducting firearm training for his fellow officers have earned Captain Hemphill the reputation of being a patient and approachable mentor who is able to transfer his knowledge of life-saving firearm skills to the officers in Mississippi.

Captain Hemphill has long acted as an ambassador of the NRA to his fellow law enforcement officers, citing the credibility the NRA lends to the field. "If you go to John Doe's Shooting School and then train your people, and one of your officers is involved in a shooting, they'll subpoena the shooting records," Hemphill said. "They will have to establish your credibility. With the NRA you don't have to establish your credibility. It's been established."

Commenting on Captain Hemphill's qualifications, John C. Sigler, NRA President and a retired Delaware police captain, said, "In addition to Philip's accomplishments within the realm of police firearms training and competition, he has been a positive role model for younger officers. His service to the cause of freedom and his dedication to the preservation and defense of the rights of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms sets an example for all to follow."

Noting that competition is an extension of training which translates into life-saving skills, Sigler believes that Captain Hemphill represents a legacy not only in the world of competitive shooting, but also in the education of our nation’s future law enforcement officers.

To obtain an entry form for nominating a candidate for the 2008 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, click here. Entry forms must be completed and submitted by September 1, 2008. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee's agency head or by an NRA member. Nominations must also be endorsed by an NRA Life Member.

For more information, call 703-267-1649.

The deadline is about one week away to nominate a hero that you know for the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

NRA Law Enforcement Activities DivisionI know we did a post about this last week, but I feel this is a very important honor. I have a lot of friends who are in law enforcement, and they don’t get much recognition. A lot of them don’t ask for that recognition, either. The deadline for nominations is September 1st.

Download an entry form, or call the Law Enforcement Activities Division at 703-267-1649 for more information.

What do these heroes have in common?

2004: Took a grenade from a robbery suspect and held it while he waited over 20 minutes for a bomb disposal unit.

2005: Stopped a deranged gunman at a nightclub.

2006: Rescued a wounded fellow officer while a gunfight raged around them.

2007: Taught firearm training for sixteen years, and won the NPSC nine times.

They were all recipients of the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award -- one way we honor the men and women who put themselves on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

Nominations for the 2008 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year are due in by September 1. The award was established in 1993, and recognizes exceptional valor, public service, and dedication to the principles of our Constitutional heritage.

Download an entry form, or call the Law Enforcement Activities Division at 703-267-1649 for more information.

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