BARSTOW — More than four years ago Andy Espinoza with the Barstow Police Department and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Randy Duran engaged in a friendly shooting competition.
The competition, according to Duran, forged a relationship between the two, who have known each other since serving on the Barstow SWAT team. His friendly competition at the Barstow Police Department shooting range with Espinoza caused Duran to start thinking about expanding the contest.
“I thought what better way to bringing the local law enforcement family together for a day than team shooting for morale and building camaraderie?” Duran said.
Duran and Espinoza started hosting a shooting competition at the Barstow Police Department firing range four years ago that included a training aspect. The first contest featured teams from the Barstow Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol.
“After it was so successful with the training session, the course was so well developed, we started inviting other law enforcement agencies,” Espinoza said. “Probation said they would like to be in it. And then Fort Irwin and MCLB police said they would like to get into it and get to know the guys.”
Each year, more agencies participated. On Friday morning, the fourth annual Law Enforcement Shooting Competition featured nine teams.
“Before, we would interact when we could. Now we interact more throughout the year because we are more prepared for something like this and we know each other by first-name basis now. It really helps networking,” Espinoza said.
The Marine Corps Logistics Base, Fort Irwin National Training Center, Union Pacific, BNSF, the San Bernardino County Probation Department and the Bureau of Land Management all sent teams.
The competition is split between two ranges. One range offers opportunities to fire a rifle, a shotgun and a pistol. The competitors have to move from one shooting station to another. Each time they are shooting behind some kind of barricade.
Competitors only fire a rifle and pistol at the second range. Two competitors are shooting at the same time.
The competition involves team scores, but also awards an individual champion.
Barstow Police Department officer Tom Lewis took top individual honors in the competition for the second year in a row. He said the training part of the competition is very beneficial. He also appreciates the relationships he has developed during the event.
“It’s fun competition, but also training,” he said. “It helps you with your daily work life.”
The Marine Corps Logistics Base took the overall team event.
Event sponsors were: Arrowhead Rick Drill Rod Sherwin, State Farm Barstow Ryan Crosby, Big 5 Sporting Goods Barstow, P.A.C.E. Paul Courtney, Route 66 Guns and Ammo Loren Schendel, Weapons Edge Jeff Gaastra, Code 3 Engraving Brian Benson, Printing Solutions, Crossroads Assembly Chaplain Charles Mattix, Turner’s Outdoorsman, JDR Construction John Rowe, Just Me William Torrez, Gregg’s Construction Gregg Lint, Greg Duffy Construction, Tom’s Welding Tom Lewis Sr., Stater Bros., Wal-Mart Dennis Harrison, Home Depot Barstow, Front Sight and Tuff Tech Holsters.