By Danielle Sturgis | September 24 2009 11:09

"You know more than anyone how important it is to use a firearm," NRA President Ron Schmeits told the crowd gathered at the National Police Shooting Championship Award Ceremony last night. ""I look at firearms as a tool, and that's the reason you're able to go home safely to your loved ones every night."

Schmeits was on hand as more than a speaker. He announced to the audience a special surprise: the selection of the NRA's annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. "Each year we select a police officer based on a variety of criteria," he said, "including exceptional valor, public service, and dedication to principles of constitution."

"We'd like to offer our congratulations to Officer Timothy Stringer of Ferguson Township of Pennsylvania, a 21 year veteran of law enforcement and NRA life member," Schmeits annouced.

After describing some of Stringer's recent heroic action, Schmeits said, "Had he not acted, the gunman would have placed countless people in harms way."

Officer Timothy Stringer, pictured above with Schmeits and his NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year firearm, told the crowd, "I'd like to thank each and every one of you for all you do to make this a better community and a better world."

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