By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampNovember 10, 2011
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Nov. 10, 2011) -- Law enforcement agencies from outside and inside Fort Leavenworth competed in a First Responder Challenge Nov. 9.
First responders from Platte County, Mo., Sheriff's Office, Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, Fort Leavenworth Fire Department, Fort Leavenworth Department of the Army Police and Fort Leavenworth Military Police all participated in a physical fitness challenge course around Trails West Golf Course. The 3.8-mile course included swimming, carrying a litter, chopping wood, rolling members of their team in wheelbarrows, carrying tires and sandbags, and rolling out fire hoses.
Members from various emergency response agencies were mixed together into three teams. The winning team completed the course in one hour, 18 minutes and 41 seconds.
"It's a teambuilding effort," said Fort Leavenworth Chief of Police Aaron Henderson. "They'll have the opportunity to work together, both internal and external, and have fun."
The Fort Leavenworth Directorate of Emergency Services extended an invitation to law enforcement and first responder partners throughout the area to participate. The agencies frequently work together for escaped inmate exercises, and in responding to emergencies and law enforcement needs in the area.
Col. Wayne Green, garrison commander, thanked the off-post teams for coming to the event.
"There's no other team sport like the business you're in," he said.
Jeffrey McCowen, director of Emergency Services, said the challenge also allowed first responders to gauge their level of fitness.
"Whatever we do as first responders, I tell them if we're hardly capable of saving ourselves, then how can we save the people we're sworn to serve?" McCowen said.
Leavenworth County Sheriff Deputy Tyler Fast said he and his co-workers decided to participate for fun. He enjoyed meeting some Fort Leavenworth first responders he had never met before.
"It's not just the physical fitness, you need mental toughness too," Fast said.
Platte County Sheriff's Department Capt. Paul Carrill said he thought he and a co-worker would give the challenge a shot. He said the tasks in the event were all physically challenging in different ways.
"It's incredibly inspiring to come over and watch these guys and gals work," he said.