The New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement organization is constantly showcasing the best of the sisters in blue throughout the state.
At the NJWLE annual convention, the first-ever shooting competition for female officers was held, with 17 women participating. Matawan Local 179 member Lyndsay Merola emerged as the top shot.
Merola and her competitors competed in three different rounds of shooting that tested each participant’s ability to shoot accurately and quickly. Merola ultimately ended with the highest score in each round.
Throughout her training, Merola says she never focused on speed and accuracy.
“They just said, out of the holster as fast as possible. You just hope and pray it goes where you want it to, but you don’t have time to line up,” Merola said.
Although she was surprised she had won the competition, Merola has always been an accurate shot. When she entered the police academy, Merola says that was only the second time she had ever picked up a gun. Since then, she’s clearly come a long way.
Merola has a “smoking gun” that makes her different from every other competitor.
“I’m left-eye dominant and I shoot right-handed, so I have a head tilt a little bit, but departments have never tried to change me because I’ve always been known to have an accurate shot,” she said.
Even before her win, Merola has been known as one of the top shooters in the Matawan PD. But overall, she believes competitions like this are not just competitions, but also a chance for officers to learn.
“If you’re ever in a police-officer-involved shooting, you’re not going to have time to utilize 10 seconds, if you God forbid ever have to,” she commented. “It’s out of the holster as fast as possible.”