Post hosts 'Top Cop' competition
June 6, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Sgt. Kristopher Shapiro, assigned to 35th Military Police Detachment, Fort Gordon, Ga., is this year's Noncommissioned Officer winner of the Pfc. James Boyd, Jr. Top Cop Competition. Spc. Brian Williamson, assigned to the 221st Military Police Detachment, Fort Eustis, Va. is the winning Soldier of the competition.
Civilian law enforcement deputies Scott Puckett and George Norton, of the Richland County Sheriff's Department, claimed the title of "2012 Best Civilian Police" winners.
Soldiers and civilian law enforcement officers from different regions competed in the Top Cop Competition Sunday through Tuesday, which took place on Fort Jackson for the first time. The 17th Military Police Detachment hosted the third annual competition, which aims to build excellence and camaraderie between military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
Ten teams of competitors from various law enforcement agencies participated. Police officers competed in two-man teams to go through scenarios that many law enforcement officers may encounter in their careers.
On Monday, competitors started early with an Army Physical Readiness Test, which included a two-mile run, sit-ups and pushups. The competitors were only given a few moments following the PT test to gather their belongings and make their way to a simulated domestic violence dispute between a husband and wife in the housing area.
Teams were evaluated by a number of criminal domestic violence instructors from the South Carolina Police Academy on their ability to work effectively and cohesively to defuse the simulated dispute.
"This competition is about coming together for scenario-based law enforcement training," said Capt. Jeffrey Krohn, commander of the 17th Military Police Detachment. "It's about partnering in excellence with outside agencies; learning from one another, regardless of the agency."
Krohn said morale and unit cohesion are among the benefits Soldiers receive from the training.
"We don't usually get a chance to meet each other in our line of work, now through this event we get a chance to meet other law enforcement officers from other agencies," Krohn said. "This also helps build esprit de corps within our unit."
He said being able to include civilian law enforcement agencies was an added bonus.
"Civilian police bring a different edge to this competition," Krohn said. "They have no idea as to what they are walking into when they get called, however when Military Police receive a call, we know the layout of the home we are walking into."
On Tuesday, competitors braved the rain to navigate an obstacle course, participate in a stress fire exercise with shotguns and pistols and respond to a simulated active shooter scenario at C.C. Pinckney Elementary School.
The winners of the competition were chosen based on their abilities to successfully complete all scenarios with minimal discrepancies.
"It's gives us the opportunity to exercise the many different events a military policeman, patrol man, law enforcement (officer), police man or sheriff might have to deal with in a situation," said Col. Stephen Yackley, Fort Jackson's deputy commanding officer.
Civilian law enforcement officers who participated qualified for the event by either completing a similar competition within their agency or by being selected by their unit, Yackley said.
The two-day competition not only gave the law enforcement agencies the opportunity to learn from each other, but also build long term community relationships.
This is the first year civilian law enforcement has been invited to participate in the competition.
Puckett and Norton described the competition as an opportunity to not only receive and give information to their military counter parts, but also to bond with one another.
"We both have over ten years experience," Puckett said. "Coming out and being able to show these guys what we know and also learn something from these guys, something we might not know -- you learn something new every day.
"The teacher is sometimes the student. When we are building a strong bond between the local law enforcement and Military Police, it's always a win-win," Puckett said.
Norton said the domestic violence scenario was one that many officers will encounter. He said that although agency tactics are very similar, getting together during an event like Top Cop allows agencies to compare tactics to find out in what areas are they different.
"This is a great event and ... (It) just shows our bonds and great community relationship we have with the local community here in South Carolina," Yackley said.