Cops compete, learn and network at APOA conference

Officer Ed Stading laughs as Officer Ryan Browning stuggles to get across the pavement on the boards for the tough cop competition. Photo by Kaylee Osowski/Peninsula Clarion

The buzzer sounds. Grab the 40-Cal Glock. Six targets set at the same height and distance stand in front of you. Shoot them. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Reload — only five rounds per magazine. Pow.


Put on the single-loop rope stirrups attached to two long wooden boards. Hold onto the long rope with one end tied to each board like reins. Shuffle across the cement shooting area at the Snow Shoe Gun Club Range.

Three small, human-shaped targets low to the ground are staggered before you. Using a Remington 870, knock down the targets. Bang. Bang. Reload. Bang. Get those boards back on. Shuffle back to the starting point. Shoot down the first six targets again. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Reload. Pow.

That was the tough cop competition Officer Ed Stading, firearms instructor for the Homer Police Department, organized for the Alaska Peace Officers Association crime conference held in Kenai and Soldotna May 20–24.

“It tests what we do in the field,” Stading said. … “With the added stress from the timer and the shoes (boards) and feeding the gun, it works on skills under pressure, so the officer can stay cool and calm. These are skill builders — building accuracy and memory.”

Officer Ryan Browning of the Homer Police Department, who taught defensive tactics at the conference, had some of the top times in the shooting competition.

“Shooting is always fun,” he said. “A little competition never hurt anybody.”

Mark Pearson, President of the Kenai Peninsula APOA chapter, said it’s important to provide the opportunity for officers to practice shooting techniques and have fun.

“Hopefully it will be an annual competition that will be done to provide time for the line officers and others that come to the conference to be involved in a fun time of being at the range,” he said.

The conference rotates host sites among Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula. The APOA brings in speakers from out of state to provide training, presents officers with the opportunity to network and allows time for target shooting competitions.

This year, speakers at the conference provided new information and ideas on subjects such as officer safety and drug interdiction, and a retired FBI instructor gave a talk on crime scene investigations.

Pearson said he thought the workshop about investigating further into traffic stops was interesting.

“There are cases where suspects have been contacted in result of a traffic stop. It isn’t just a simple traffic stop … it can lead to a major case.”

Pearson said about 50 attendees from throughout the state participated in the conference.

“The speakers that were there were well attended,” Pearson said. “Everybody enjoyed the conference and went back with good ideas.”


Kaylee Osowski can be reached at


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