First time competitor flourishes at NRA's National Police Shooting Championship in New Mexico
Michelle Jochum of the Lincoln PD in Nebraska takes aim during NRA's National Police Shooting Championships.
NRA's National Police Shooting Championships attracts a wide assortment of law enforcement marksmen from around the globe. Last year, we met one of those competitors — Officer Michelle Jochum from Lincoln, Nebraska ...
Albuquerque, New Mexico - Michelle Jochum as been on the job for five years. Just shy of five to be exact. A patrol officer for Nebraska's Lincoln Police Department, Jochum works the third shift in the downtown area known as the center team.
"Right smack dab in the center of the city," she said.
Third shift is the overnight. The time when most of us are sound asleep. When your biggest worry is some dog barking through the night, Jochum and her compatriots are patrolling the streets. Zooming round corners, running down alleys, keeping the city safe. This week her shift has changed. This week, she's taking part in NRA's National Police Shooting Championships. That means she's up during the day.
"This is usually my sleeping time, but it's kind of nice to be able to sleep at night again for a week."
The National Police Shooting Championships (NPSC) is a four-day competition run by the NRA. Held at the Shooting Range Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since 2006, NPSC brings novice and expert shooters from as far away as Venezuela and Russia to vie for the title of Grand Champion. While Jochum won't be among the top contenders, she is making the most of her time in the Land of Enchantment.
"That have been so many experienced shooters, masters and high masters, who are giving me tips and pointers. Just the littlest piece of advice changes my performance so much. It's been great."
Much like fellow LPD officers Jesse Hilger and John Pitts, Jochum is not here on the taxpayer's nickel. This is her vacation. Instead of spending time lounging about on some far away beach, she is here in the deserts of New Mexico to compete. To get better at her job. To learn those things that one can only learn from experience. And there's plenty of experience around here.
"One of the great benefits that comes from taking part in NPSC is the experience," said NRA Law Enforcement Division Director Glen Hoyer. "Not only the experience that comes from shooting on the line, but the experience our competitors share from their time on the job."
Michelle Jochum walks off the NPSC Range in Albuquerque.
Experience aside, there still is the matter of funds — how to pay for the trip out, the hotel, the meals and everything else. Most police departments do not have funds dedicated to pay for such excursions. That means you pay for it yourself. Or, as was the the case for Jochum, you enlist a local sponsor.
"Our Police Union really helped us out. They also worked with Frerking Custom Works out of Cortland, Nebraska to raffle off a few guns. Jesse, John and I are paying for the difference."
Hopefully it was worth it. Finishing first among Classified Municipal competitors (Classified is a ranking for those who have shot in a Police Pistol Combat Competition but have not shot enough to achieve an official ranking), Jochum achieved personal bests with her New Mexican performance. A performance she hopes to repeat in 2013.
"As long as I can get the time off I'll be out here. You learn so much. You're shooting next to some of the best shooters in the world and they're giving you advice. It's an unbelievably rewarding experience."
For more on NRA's National Police Shooting Championships, visit their website at npsc.nra.org