ICE Agent explains why he competes and trains for NRA Tactical Police Competitions
Albuquerque, New Mexico - Standing approximately five feet six inches tall with a touch of gray scattered about his the black matted coiffure, you probably wouldn't think that Arlo Arcinas as a federal agent just by looking at him. He doesn't exactly fit the physical stereotype. But that's one of the things that makes him such a valuable asset. That and the skills that earned him a spot on the ICE National Pistol Team. He's been there so long, he was on the team before there even was an ICE.
"I was on the INS team for three years," he offered up. "When the change was made in 2003, I suddenly became an ICE man."
A branch of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They are the principal investigative arm of Homeland. Divided into two groups (Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement & Removal Operations), ICE currently has more than 20,000 employees in offices in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries. And at NRA's National Tactical Police Competition (TPC) in Albuquerque, they were rolling.
"The Tacticals are great training," Arcinas explained. "It's a chance to utilize our skills in a dynamic fashion. It also reminds us to take environmental conditions into account … which is extremely helpful. After all, operations in the field are hardly ever perfect. There is always something."
Tactical Police Competitions are 3-Gun matches developed by the NRA for law enforcement officers. Based on real-life scenarios, the competition is broken down in the six separate courses. Each features a variety of targets, no-shoots, hazards and firing areas. The shooters are divided into two categories; Patrol and Tactical. Patrol is limit to officers who compete with their standard duty firearms ... pistols, shotguns and rifles. Tactical allows shooters to use optics on the rifle and a semi-automatic shotgun. Those who complete the course in the least amount of time wins.
"I know I'm probably not going to get the best time, but I am consistent," he laughed.
His consistency translated into a 7th place finish in the Patrol Team category and 27th in Individual Patrol.
"The first two courses really kicked my tail," he said with a grimace. "Stupid mistakes. But better to make then here then out in the field."
Time at the National Police Shooting Championships
Arcinas has been part of the National Police Shooting Championships
since 2001. Back then the match was held in Jackson, Mississippi — an environment that offered a different set of obstacles than the sunny sands of New Mexico.
"Out here you have to worry about snakes, sun block and the lightening and thunder storms. There it was the torrential downpours. But you can't worry about conditions, you just have to shoot."
And shooting is one of the things he does best. That's the case for most who compete in the National Police Shooting Championships (NPSC). Some are management, some are regular patrol, but an overwhelming majority of the competitors are instructors back home.
"I was an instructor until they promoted me to a desk job. A little good and bad goes with that."
No matter what your position, NPSC is an excellent opportunity for those who teach as well as those eager to learn. As a Police Pistol Combat Competition, NPSC rewards those with a firm grasp on the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. Something a law enforcement officer should never lose sight of.
"Sight alignment, trigger pull, press and positioning," Arcinas repeated from memory. "That's your focus during NPSC. When it comes to the TPC, there is more of a move and shoot dynamic. You're working with heavier equipment, full gauge shotguns, rifles, as well as out duty gear. It's a rewarding and sometimes frustrating challenge.
"Then, whatever we learn here, we bring back to the office and use those courses and techniques to train the rest of the staff."
A competition, a learning tool and an opportunity to train. Not what you'd expect from a weekend with the NRA. But much like the unassuming Arcinas, that's just what makes the TPCs such a valuable asset too.
For more on NRA's National Police Shooting Championships, visit their website at npsc.nra.org