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.
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.”
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.”