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OPD Finishes Second in National LawFit Challenge

By Megan Feringa, Oxford Eagle Contributor
The Oxford Police Department placed second in the 17th Annual National LawFit Challenge June 7 through 9 in Desoto County. Major Jeff McCutchen, Sergeant Ben Hamilton, Sergeant Joshua Shipp, Corporal Zach Anderson and Officer Jeremiah Brown represented OPD as they competed against 130 law-enforcement officers across the nation.
The competition consisted of a maximum bench press, a one-minute timed sit-up, a flexibility test, pull-ups, a 1.5 mile run and a 200-yard agility test designed to simulate chasing down a suspect, with obstacles such as jumping over ditches, climbing walls, handcuffing a dummy and shooting down a target with one shot.
“The idea is that everything you’re about to do is things you have to do on the job,” McCutchen said.
Their achievement marks the second time the OPD has placed second in the national competition and the fifth time the department’s four-man team has finished in the Top 5 nationally. Yet, for McCutchen, the team’s achievement is more than just a national testament to OPD’s physical fitness.
“I think it starts in the fitness world, but we try to take it out into the community,” McCutchen said. “It’s helped us with our report writing, our customer service with the public because if we think we’re doing fitness right and we’re not and people are whooping us at that, how can we do report writing better? How can we do approaches to our traffic monitoring better?”
One thing McCutchen said the competition opened his eyes to is constantly examining ways to improve. For the OPD, he said getting better is a simple matter of taking pride in the people and city they serve every day.
“We take a ton of pride in this competition because we feel like it is indicative of who the city of Oxford is and the Oxford Police Department,” he said. “…and if you take pride in something, you’re going to treat it better.”
According to McCutchen, the professionalism and pride exhibited in the competition not only distinguishes the OPD amongst the other law-enforcement agencies in the challenge, but more importantly, in the eyes of the public at home. OPD isn’t just serious about fitness; they’re serious about Oxford, he said.
“If I show up on your wreck scene and I get out looking sloppy, I get out looking unprofessional, you’re going to be like, ‘This guy is really going to screw this up.’ So we want to present ourselves professionally,” McCutchen said. “We also want the public to know, we’re not afraid to raise our bar, and if its means going to competition, if it means going to classes, whatever, we want to try to tweak everything we do to be best for Oxford.”
Among the list of awards won by OPD are: 2nd Place 4-man team; 3rd place 2-man team; 5th place 2-man team; 4th and 5th place overall individuals; 1st and 3rd place sit-ups; 4th place in 1.5 mile run; 2nd and 5th place in sit-and-reach and 3rd and 5th place in pull-ups.
Officer Jeremiah Brown was named Rookie of the Year.