ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A badge and gun come with the job of being a Rockford Police Officer.
For one officer, her skilled marksman abilities were learned outside of the force and even landed her a spot on the History Channel's Top Shot--which debuts tonight.
Out of thousands of applicants, marksman and Rockford Police Officer Sara Ahrens' skills landed her in a competition of just 16 on the show Top Shot.
She said, "It actually was quite a difficult process. I have had top secret security clearance in the military and I would say it was about as hard as that."
We caught up with the city's first female SWAT Team member at the Beloit Rifle Club. Ahrens says she realized early on in her 15-year career she had to hone her skills when a suspect pulled a knife on her while trying to make an arrest.
"I fired one round into him. I did not aim my firearm. I'll be perfectly honest with you: it was a point and shoot situation. That was the first time in my career, in the 18 months I had on the job, that I realized my life might depend on my ability to fire my weapon."
The incident wasn't fatal, but it was a pivotal change in her firearm's training. She actually lead RPD’s training department for four years. She regularly practices and even trained 23 News Anchor Tina Stein how to skeet shoot--not successfully though.
“For me it means a little bit more than a hobby.” Ahrens said. “I do absolutely love it; it allows me to spend time with my family and I've gotten pretty good at it over the last seven years but it is also a very big part of my career."
Top Shot challenges contestants on various weapons and all the drama that comes with reality TV.
She said, "It was definitely a mental challenge. There's a lot of isolation and deprivation"
Officer Ahrens is now the lone female on the show after another woman from Alabama was eliminated last night. The winner of the show wins a 100-thousand dollar prize.