LEESVILLE — Many law enforcement agencies require their officers to work long hours. They also encourage continuous training and friendly competition to build solid teams capable of upholding the law and protecting members of the community.
Military and civilian police organizations don’t generally work together until there is an event that affects both groups, forcing them to come together in response to tragic events such as mass casualties, catastrophic weather tragedies, terror attacks and the like.
The Fort Polk Directorate of Emergency Services refused to wait for such an event.
More than 60 law enforcement officers, including Fort Polk’s Directorate of Emergency Services, the 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and several law enforcement agencies from the surrounding community, spent a day enjoying competition, camaraderie and relationship building during the “Top Shot” Competition at the Leesville Police Department’s Firing Range. Sept. 9. The event was sponsored by DES.
Tommy Bolton, a civilian training officer at DES, has a strong background in law enforcement and is well connected in the local community. He organizes this competition every year.
“This is the closest thing to combat tactics these guys will ever face under live-fire conditions,” said Bolton. “The dynamics of these courses of fire require these officers to use skill-sets that directly relate to real-word situations including active shooters, domestic violence calls and any situation requiring the use of lethal force.”
Bolton said the competition forces the officers to think about their position in relation to obstacles, use of cover, thinking in angles and keeping track of their expended rounds, all while anticipating where the threat is coming from.
“The name of the game is speed, power and accuracy,” said Bolton while explaining to the shooters how to successfully navigate each of the competition’s three courses of fire.
During the first course, shooters engaged moving targets though makeshift windows from behind walls, ensuring they fired with steady aim and position. Corners were added to the second course, forcing shooters to navigate quickly through open areas as they simultaneously engaged targets.
The final course of the event contained all of the challenges of the first two while adding urban areas and wayward civilians to secure and protect, substantially raising the level of difficulty during the last phase of the competition.
Pfc. Jessey J. Robson, a military police officer assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, said he is glad the leadership at the 519th is still setting up this type of training.
“It’s good to have competition,” said Robson. “It gives us bragging rights around Leesville and DeRidder.”