Soldiers from Fort Stewart’s 385th Military Police Battalion joined local law enforcement officers here on Wednesday for a friendly shooting competition at small arms range Lima. Law enforcement officers from Chatham, Liberty, and Bryan counties were among some of those who participated.
The competition kicked off a two day law enforcement symposium designed to foster camaraderie, networking, and the open exchange of information between military police officers and their civilian counterparts. At the end of the day, Dean Coffman, a K-9 Deputy from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, took the shooting championship trophy and said that he was excited to participate and enjoyed working alongside his peers both military and civilian.
“My main goal was to have fun. I like to use these competitions as a way to network. Meet other people. Talk to other people. So we definitely accomplished that yesterday,” he said.
The shooting competition was an addition from last year and was designed to promote camaraderie with local law enforcement from all agencies that touch Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, said Lt. Col. Craig Giancaterino, Fort Stewart’s Director of Emergency Services and 385th MP Bn. Commander.
“We’re trying to do more competition, more training events, but actually putting steel down range is something that we don’t do enough,” he said.
The sentiment was echoed by the Liberty County Sheriff’s office.
“I felt the competition was very enhancing for the officers and building that team relationship with the other officers at the event, and building that good rapport with Fort Stewart, so I really enjoyed it,” said Liberty County Sheriff, William Bowman.
Teamwork, camaraderie, and mutual respect were the common themes throughout the event.
Hinesville Police Department’s Chief of Police, Lloyd Slater said that he thought the competition was a good idea that brought the agencies closer together and that he will be looking forward to the next one.
“As a former Soldier I am very comfortable working with the Army,” he said. “I enjoy it. They are a major part of our population and we appreciate all you do.”
Giancaterino addressed the group on Thursday morning. He thanked everyone for coming out and showing their support of the partnership between local and military law enforcement that keeps our Soldiers and community safe. He reiterated that the goal of the symposium was to have some discussion, raise awareness about current criminal activity that affects our communities, and to break bread together.
The 3rd Infantry Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, also expressed his gratitude and support for our local law enforcement partners.
“Anything you need from me, my staff belongs to you all. All the time,” he said. “Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything. Again, thanks very much for being here.”