Published 11:59 pm Friday, April 17, 2009
Law enforcement officers from 10 agencies across the state gathered in Opp Friday to test their marksmanship and enjoy some camaraderie at the Instant Response Team’s pistol competition.
“This is a friendly competition that used to be very common,” said DTF agent Ray Dixon, the IRT commander. “It kind of dwindled away for a while, but we’re trying to bring it back. It’s not only a fun bit of competition, but it’s also a great way for law enforcement officers to network with each other.
“They get a chance to swap cards, phone numbers and even some information about crimes that are going on in their area. Because criminals don’t have jurisdictions they stay around in, like these (officers) do.”
Dixon said the event also serves as a fund-raiser for the IRT, to help it purchase needed equipment. This is the second straight year the IRT has held the competition; last year it took place at the Andalusia shooting range.
Competitors took aim in a variety of shooting styles and techniques. In some parts of the competition, only accuracy was tested, while in others shooters not only had to shoot accurately but also quickly. Competitors shot at targets from three different distances and a variety of orientations, including standing, kneeling and one-handed.
In addition, later in the day, some of the sponsors of the event were given the chance to test their skill at shooting.
But ultimately the day was for the various law enforcement agencies, including the Andalusia Police Department, Covington County Sheriff’s Office, Opp Police Department and Alabama Beverage Control Board, among others.
“This event isn’t necessarily about training the officers or anything like that,” Dixon said. “They’ve already learned these skills from previous training and being on the job. This is just an opportunity for them to show off their skills and hopefully have a good time.”
Top finishers for the day were as follows:
Modified B27 course — Steve McGowin, Andalusia Police Department, first place; Jeff Shelton, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, second place; Randy Courtney, Greenville Police Department, third place.
FBI Bullseye course — Jeff Shelton, Coffee County Sheriff’s Office, first place; Randy Courtney, Greenville Police Department, second place; Nic Ireland, Covington County Sheriff’s Department, third place.
IRT Qualifying Course No. 2 — Steve McGowin, Andalusia Police Department, first place; Adam Hadder, Walker County Sheriff’s Department, second place; Randy Courtney, Greenville Police Department, third place.
“Top Gun” Award — Steve McGowin, Andalusia Police Department.
Sponsor shoot — Walt Merrell, Merrell & Bryan LLC, first place; Tom Wismer, second place; Al Smith, Smith & Smith Attorneys, third place.