Did you know that NROI has a discipline procedure for certified range officials at all levels? You can find the board-approved procedure here, along with many other NROI policies. The Range Officer’s Creed is the basic code of conduct for all range officials. Violations of this basic tenet of officiating can land you in the NROI Discipline procedure, but only if someone takes the time to report them officially via an incident report to NROI.
The incident report must list names of range officials, what happened, and what the person submitting it is asking for. Sometimes, it’s just a complaint, and often it’s not timely or has to do with a scoring call (addressed in the rules, on the range, and not relevant to this procedure) or something else that we generally don’t touch after the match is over, such as arguing a DQ or a penalty. But, serious problems can occur and should be reported. We keep all of the information as confidential as possible, so no one should fear reprisal for reporting bad behavior.
So, how does this system work? Well, first, we encourage any problems with range officials be worked out on the range, at the match and that’s generally what happens. At times, the actions of a range officer may warrant additional investigation, or the complainant doesn’t feel that the issue was handled satisfactorily so they submit an incident report to NROI. Once that report is submitted, a committee not unlike an arbitration committee is formed to determine if the complaint has merit. If it does, then it’s assigned a Tier, either Tier 1 or Tier 2. Here is the information from the procedure:
NROI maintains a two-tier system of Range Official discipline.
- Tier 1 complaints address Range Officials who have shown themselves to be out of date, have incorrectly interpreted rules, or have deviated from the Range Officers Creed.
- Tier 2 complaints concern cases where the Range Official has been involved in either a single serious breach of their responsibilities, or a continuing series of problem situations that show a disregard for either the rules or the principles of the organization.
Rule 7.2.2 of the USPSA Competition Rules and USPSA Rifle, Shotgun, and Multigun Rules outlines the procedure to be followed should a Match Official be disciplined by the RM at any given match.
The first tier’s goal will be to re-educate the Range Official. The second tier assesses progressive levels of discipline up to removal of certification, and in the most serious situations, recommendation to the Board of Directors for possible expulsion from the organization.
If an RO is just making bad calls or is in bad position because he’s ignorant of the rules, or new, then that’s a coach and counsel/discussion, maybe stepping up to a requirement to take another seminar or get some additional training or mentoring. Most of the range officials in the organization are doing their best, and we all make mistakes. This is not normally a discipline thing, and in fact most problems, from not knowing a particular rule, using the wrong range commands, being out of position, or just not paying enough attention are usually handled at the range.
Taking it up a step, reported, documented, unprofessional behavior will get you into the discipline program, and normally at a re-training level if there isn’t a pattern of it. Let’s say excessive profanity, especially considering the audience and if warned about it. (As a friend of mine once stated, nobody has ever been offended by lack of profane language.) Or, getting into a heated discussion with a competitor instead of turning that problem over to the RM or MD. Or putting your hands on a competitor, regardless of their gender if it’s offensive or unwanted contact. Again, depends on the circumstances and what someone submits.
Deliberately making bogus penalty calls, or ignoring infractions for different people will get you into the level 4 or 5 process, as will cheating in any form. Acting in a totally unprofessional manner, especially with a pattern of such behavior, will also land you there. Ignoring RM instructions, harassing competitors, even running a stage poorly despite instructions on how to do it better may all get you into the Tier 2 discipline structure.
Once the level of discipline is established, the committee interviews everyone concerned, documents their findings, and then presents those findings and sometimes a recommendation for a discipline level to me. The procedure gives the Director of NROI the ability to assess any level of discipline to the subject of the complaint. Once that’s decided, the entire report goes to the USPSA Board of Directors, and the action decided upon is executed. Note that both Tier 1 and Tier 2 complaints may result in loss of certification and/or denial of recertification, or be referred to the board for further action.
Officials disciplined under this system have the right to appeal the decision. Once the appeal is received, the DNROI will form a review committee for level 1 through 3 concerns, and refer the request for appeal to the USPSA Board of Directors for Level 4 and 5 decisions.
At any level of discipline, even for incident reports that ultimately prove to be untrue or have no merit, I have a duty to act. Factoring in whether the person in question can be coached or retrained is an important part of deciding what level of discipline to impose, as is their response to the allegations in the report. In most cases, retraining is the best answer. In some, it’s not. Egregious acts warrant harsher discipline, and actions have consequences. I try to treat everyone the same, regardless of who they are or what position they may hold, and follow my policies and procedures to the letter. Having said that, until an incident gets into the system, I can’t really do anything. The board and myself are governed by the bylaws, and my policies and procedures are all published and board approved, as required. Bottom line: NROI Certified Range Officials are representatives of NROI and USPSA, and ambassadors of the sport at all levels, and even more so if they are officials in the organization. They are expected to act accordingly, and unprofessional behavior likely to bring the sport into disrepute should not be tolerated.
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