GPD welcomes top shots for annual Steel Challenge
Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The Greenville Police Department Special Response Team is inviting law enforcement officers from across the state to take aim at raising much-needed funds for the tactical team.
On Friday the team will hold its 5th annual Steel Challenge, a shooting competition that will pit local, state and federal officers against one another. The funds raised from the competitors’ entry fees are used to purchase equipment and help pay for training for members of Greenville’s Special Response Team.
“The (City of Greenville) helps out as much as it can, but the budget is pretty tight these days, and we try to help out where we can by purchasing some of the more expensive items,” said Lt. Justin Lovvorn, SRT Team Leader. “We also use the money we raise to help pay for training. We’ve achieved a high standard with our team, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to maintain that level of excellence.”
The event, which will be held at the Greenville Police Department’s firing range on Hwy. 31 South, will begin at 8 a.m. The public is invited to attend. There is no admission fee for spectators.
Lovvorn said officers from Chilton County will be participating. Chilton County’s SWAT team won the Alabama Tactical Officers Association Tactical Tournament in October.
Officers from the FBI, Alabama State Troopers, Homewood Police Department, Elmore County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenville Police Department will also be competing, along with others.
“In the past we’ve had some guys that can really shoot compete,” Lovvorn said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
This year for the first time, event organizers will include rifles and shotguns in the competition.
“On the first course, competitors will start with a rifle and transition to a pistol,” Lovvorn said. “On the second course they’ll start with a pistol and transition to a shotgun, and the third course will be strictly pistol.”
Lovvorn said the change was made to make the competition more competitive and more interesting for the officers that are competing.
“It makes things a little more difficult, which makes things interesting,” he said.
The top three shooters from each course will advance to the “Top Gun” competition where participants will use all three weapons.
“That’s going to be a lot of fun to watch,” Lovvorn said. “We’re really going to put them through a series of events that will test their ability.”
Lovvorn said the “Top Gun” competition will likely begin between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Capt. Randy Courtney, SRT Commander, said the Steel Challenge not only helps raise funds for his team, but also provides training for other officers.
“This is just a way to get other officers from other departments down for the day to shoot, compete and have a fun day as well as a training day,” Courtney said. “Anytime you’re shooting and going through a course handling your weapon, that’s training.”
A sponsors shoot will also be held during the event.
“We have some sponsors that can really shoot and look forward to the event each year, and we have others that maybe aren’t as familiar with firearms and just want to see what it’s like to fire a gun. It’s always a lot of fun for everyone. It’s also a way for us to show our sponsors that appreciate what they do for us in helping us put on this competition. Without them we couldn’t do this.”