Taking one for the team can leave a sting

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There’s a phrase which is pretty much generic to all jobs — “Taking one for the team” ­­— which can mean a plethora of things depending on what profession it’s related to and how it’s used.

In this case, taking one for the team meant literally taking one in the arm and chest. It was during my coverage of Dunn and Erwin police officers and their recent active shooter training where I took one for The Daily Record reporters.

Let me preface this by saying I really am not griping or complaining, rather, I am making light of a situation. It was a situation that could really happen, but since I’m not trying to have a downer column this week, let’s keep it on the lighthearted side.

One of the duties of a community journalist many times is to take photos. And since we have to be both a photographer and a reporter here, we take our own photos 99.99% of the time when we’re covering stories.

So last week it was no different and I went to Harnett Primary School knowing full well I would get a pretty good story and great photos from the training. After some time speaking with the training session’s leaders, it became apparent a simulated room entry would make a great shot.

The crew I was fortunate enough to photograph and write about included Officers Ricky Jackson, who played the shooter, Matt Smith and Megan Dean and Sgt. Nick Simmons and Sgt. Jackie Morris. All are fine officers and I feel secure knowing if the situation were to occur, I would be more than confident in their abilities.

Well, just for the sake of keeping it lighthearted, let’s just say that one of them, who is not Megan Dean, Nick Simmons, Jackie Morris or Ricky Jackson, didn’t shoot me by mistake.

I know, I know, when you go on a police operation of any kind at all, you take a risk of something happening. I’ve been on drug raids, watched officers do their job catching speeders in school zones, and observed several other police activities — all of which pose an inherent danger of getting hurt — but none left me with a “bullet” wound before last week.

Yes, the bullet was an Airsoft pellet and, no, it didn’t cripple me, although it did draw a little blood, but it was all for a good cause.

The officers were told I was not part of the scenario and they should ignore me. Well, as close to being able to ignore a 6-foot-1-inch guy with a camera in a dark room as you can.

When the officers entered the room, I instinctively took a photo. Which meant when it’s dark, the camera flashes automatically.

So Dean and Smith make their entry first, Dean pays no attention to the man in the corner and focuses on the bad guy.

Snap goes the flash and bing go the next two pellets, one striking me on the arm and the other in the chest. I’m sure glad he didn’t have a head shot.

I’m trying to keep from laughing as the scenario becomes chaotic. Both sides are shooting at each other and I’m just standing in amazement as to how efficient each of them were in their jobs.

To Matt Smith’s credit, even though he wasn’t supposed to shoot me, he didn’t hesitate. When he saw something in a rather dangerous scenario, his training took over and he did what he was supposed to do.

Well, a Band-Aid later and I was as good as new. Thanks to Matt’s efforts, I feel reasonably safe in peace and really safe in times of stress.

Thanks for doing your jobs so well. You guys are truly the best.

Rick Curl is a reporter with the Daily Record. He can be reached by telephone at 910-230-2037. He can be reached by email at rcurl@mydailyrecord.com.

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