October 11, 2016
2016 National Law Enforcement Exploring Pistol Championship Winner Presented with the Captain Drew C. Burham Award for Firearms Marksmanship Excellence
Explorer Brendan Crace was presented with the Captain Drew C. Burham Award for Firearms Marksmanship Excellence as the overall winner of the 2016 National Law Enforcement Exploring Pistol Championship for achieving First Place, scoring 257-3X in Match #4 out of a possible 300-30X. Crace, of Post #275 sponsored by the Tampa, Florida Police Department, won first place in a field of 155 competitors at the newly established pistol championship held at Camp Navajo, Arizona as part of the National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference during the week of July 11-15, 2016.
In October 2014 the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee approved upgrading the pistol marksmanship event conducted during the national conference, from a general competition open to any Explorer, to a national championship held annually requiring competitors to qualify for participation. This change was approved with the goal of increasing the number of Posts conducting safe and proper firearms and marksmanship training while providing resources to local Posts to expand participation while raising their level of proficiency and quality of program activities.
In order to recognize the superlative performance of an Explorer winning the overall championship by achieving the highest aggregate score on the 25-yard course of fire, the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee established the Captain Drew C. Burham Award for Firearms Marksmanship Excellence during their fall 2015 meeting. This achievement is recognized with a large first place trophy, neck medallion and custom wall plaque.
Commencing with the 2016 National Law Enforcement Exploring Pistol Championship and each annual national event going forward, the Explorer achieving the highest score on Match #4 (Aggregate – Overall Winner) will be awarded the Captain Drew C. Burham Award for Firearms Marksmanship Excellence.
Following Exploring Division precedence for giving unique, special awards, the national committee sought to create an award to honor an individual who has distinguished themselves over a long period of time through outstanding volunteer service to Law Enforcement Exploring. This person would have provided superlative training and mentoring in the area of firearms safety and marksmanship proficiency while possessing unshakable ethics and demonstrated high moral character as well as remarkable leadership inspiration. The National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Captain Drew C. Burham (Retired) of the Des Moines, Iowa Police Department as the namesake of this award.
Drew Burham was raised in the Midwestern United States, the son of a minister and caring mother. After high school he joined the U. S. Army and served with the 101st Airborne Infantry Division in the Republic of South Vietnam during the late 1960’s. Upon return to the states, he attended college and joined the Des Moines Police Department at the youthful age of 22. Shortly after graduation from the police academy in 1970, young Patrolman Burham began a five decade long association with Law Enforcement Exploring when he accepted the role of Associate Advisor to Post #21 and became its first firearms instructor.
Drew immediately crafted a program to bring new, youthful shooters, into a safe and professional environment that advocated excellence from the beginning. His no-nonsense manner and keen observation skills brought immediate results during classroom instruction and firing line coaching. In a short time, Explorers began qualifying for marksmanship achievement awards and formed a competitive pistol team.
In 1972, he was instrumental in helping organize and outfit a week-long, live-in, Explorer Police Academy, one of the first in the nation at that time. Over the years, Captain Burham expanded this weeklong event to a Regional Explorer Police Academy inviting law enforcement Exploring Posts from across the Midwest. A “Top Gun” marksmanship competition amongst the attendees was a favorite activity.
Drew also provided Explorers with a “Ride-Along” experience where Post members accompanied him on routine patrol during his scheduled shift of duty. These were always opportunities to watch and learn from an outstanding example of compassionate, professional policing. During his 32-year career with the police department, he rose to the rank of Captain, supervising patrol operations and tactical response for the entire capital city.
In addition to his fulltime duties as a police officer and Explorer Advisor, Drew Burham continued to serve his country in the Iowa Air National Guard, providing firearms instruction and armorer support to “Citizen” Soldiers and Airmen, he organized and provided leadership to Boy Scout Troop #40 and raised a family. His son was the first Eagle Scout from Troop #40. Drew currently serves as an Assistant Director for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Several thousand young men and women have gone through the Post #21 program during that time and have gone on to serve their country with distinction in both the military and law enforcement professions or became better citizens for having done so. Captain Burham has been featured in news articles commending his service to the community by helping to create greater understanding between youth and the police.