In almost all competitive endeavors, there will be disputes: disputes about scoring calls, disputes about penalties, arguments over whether the ball was in or out, whether the runner was safe or out, or where that fish actually came from.
NROI has a discipline procedure, which is a two-tiered system for competitors and range officials to officially file complaints about range officials. First and foremost, however, the issue needs to be brought to the attention of the Range Master during the match. This generally solves all issues, whether it’s just a contested call on the part of the range officer (we are all human, and make mistakes), that needs to be appealed up the chain of command, to concerns about unfair treatment and even cheating on the part of the range official. Per rule 7.2, the Range Master has authority over all match officials other than the Match Director, so he or she is the person that any dispute should be brought to for resolution. If the RM’s answer is not satisfactory, in certain cases the issue can be brought to arbitration. But, in the case of problems with range officials, the RM is the go-to guy for getting your problem solved. Almost 100% of the time, any issue can be worked out on the range.
Should the problem be severe, the RM may discipline the range official, up to and including dismissing them from the staff. This is a very rare occurrence, since most issues are minor: a range official shouting at the squad to help reset, or personality clashes, or the competitor is unhappy with a procedural call. Even if you feel that you are not being treated fairly by a range official, the RM is the person to take your troubles to. At the very least, you can always request another range officer to run you through the course of fire. And, Range Officials take note: this is a reasonable request and should be carried out without hesitation. Sometimes, the competitor may have to wait for another range official to be available, but in those cases, simply move on to the next competitor and keep going. Everybody has a bad day sometimes, but again, most issues can (and should) be solved on the stage.
What happens if the problem is more severe, though? What if the RO is being accused of cheating, or is being extremely inconsistent with procedural calls or target scoring? Then, the RM may not only discipline the range official, but may send in an incident report to NROI, and in fact must send one in if any sort of discipline beyond minor coaching is applied. Competitors may also submit an incident report if they are not satisfied that the problem was solved to their satisfaction, but the RM should have been involved and an attempt to rectify the situation made at the range. Waiting until a few days after to submit it strips some of the efficacy from the report, especially if the RM was never involved.
NROI takes all incident reports seriously, and we follow the procedure outlined in the discipline policy. If the complaint is found to have no merit after delving into the details, then that is reported to all parties. If there are some issues, however, the policy outlines what happens, and the resulting discipline can be anything from coaching and counseling to re-educate the range official, to recommending they repeat some training, to removal or downgrading their certification, and ultimately to recommending to the board of directors that their membership be revoked. In all cases, the concerned parties are notified of the decision and any action taken, and a report is made to the board by DNROI.
Bottom line: try to resolve any disputes at the range and get the RM involved. It’s much better to solve a problem on the spot than to rely on witnesses memories and statements concerning an issue that may have happened days before. And remember, we are all human and mistakes will be made. How that mistake is handled can make all the difference in the world.
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