34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
Spc. Robert Leon, the only junior enlisted Soldier in the running, fires live rounds at a target during the stress shoot portion of the Top Cop Competition April 21, 2021. Three Soldiers vied for the honor of being the top cop at 34th Military Police Detachment. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Three Soldiers from 34th Military Police Detachment squared off at Fort Knox April 21 for bragging rights, an Army Achievement Medal and a humorous trophy during the unit’s first Top Cop Competition.

Plans for a more expanded Fort Knox-wide competition ultimately fell through due to increased duty requirements and some personnel shortages, leaders said.

“The [34th] commander has had something like this in mind since she took command,” said 1st Lt. Dietta Hahn, operations officer. “We originally wanted it to be a bigger competition, and we had it in mind to invite our counterparts from the Directorate of Emergency Services. … The invitation was extended to them but they couldn’t participate. We hope they will next year.”

Hahn also said they hope to eventually open up the competition to outside law enforcement agencies as the opportunity arises.

34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The overnight snowstorm didn’t halt the competition as each military policeman started the day showing off their driving skills during the evasive maneuvers portion. In this stretch of road, MPs had to weave backwards around each cone. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL
34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The eventual winner, Sgt. Anthony Catania, loads ammunition in a pistol magazine before the start of the stress shoot event. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL
34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The three competitors listen to a safety briefing prior to the start of the stress shoot. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL
34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A competitor speeds around the evasive maneuvers course, where they had to showcase starting, stopping, weaving and other skills behind the wheel. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL
34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A competition official staples “bad guy” papers on each of the targets before the stress shoot. Some targets had “good guy” images, making the stress shoot more difficult for the competitors who had to make split-second decisions. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL

The competition consisted of an evasive driving maneuvers course, a live-fire timed stress shoot using M17 and M4 weapons — like what Best Warriors encounter during Soldier and NCO of the Year competitions — and a written test on Army and Fort Knox law enforcement policies and regulations.

Of the three competitors, Spc. Robert Leon — the only lower enlisted competitor — took the early lead against his noncommissioned officer counterparts. Having just arrived to Fort Knox 1 ½ months ago, he figured the evasive maneuvers course would likely be his strongest event.

“The NCOs have more experience than me, but I’m up for the challenge,” said Leon. “I’m very competitive so any time there’s an opportunity to compete, I always just like to get myself in there.”

Having just arrived, Leon recently completed the evasive maneuvers course as part of his in-processing to the unit. He admitted that the written portion might be his weakest event — for the same reason.

“Like I said, the NCOs here have way more experience than me,” said Leon, “and they probably know the law enforcement portion better than I do. But I’ll do my best on it.”

By the end of the one-day competition, he, Sgt. Anthony Catania and Sgt. Jordan Williamson had each won an event, announced by leaders. It came down to overall points.

“Without further ado I will announce the winner,” said Capt. Toree Cardinali, the 34th commander — “which is Sgt. Catania.”

34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The 34th MP Detachment’s “Top Cop” from the competition earned a special trophy, being presented by the unit’s mascot. (Photo Credit: Renee Rhodes, Fort Knox Visual Information) VIEW ORIGINAL
34th MP Detachment Soldiers go head-to-head in first ‘Top Cop’ competition
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Toree Cardinali, the 34th MP Detachment commander, shakes the hand of the Top Cop winner, Sgt. Sgt. Anthony Catania, taking advantage of the handshake to provide him a unit coin. (Photo Credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News) VIEW ORIGINAL

Catania laughed as he was presented the trophy; an artificial doughnut and cup of coffee in handcuffs. He also deflected his win:

“I knew it was going to be a hard competition.”