Officers’ shooting competition boosts CrimeStoppers

Lauren Wood | Daily Journal Deputy Sheriff Juan Martinez with the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department discharges a shotgun shell as he is timed in the shotgun shooting challenge Saturday morning during the CrimeStopper's Blue Steel firearms challenge at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Lauren Wood | Daily Journal
Deputy Sheriff Juan Martinez with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department discharges a shotgun shell as he is timed in the shotgun shooting challenge Saturday morning during the CrimeStopper’s Blue Steel firearms challenge at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy.

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

TUPELO – The crack of gunshots filled the air at the North Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Center Saturday as law enforcement officers competed in shooting challenges.

The Blue Steel shooting competition is an annual opportunity for officers to spend time together while honing their shooting skills and supporting the training center and CrimeStoppers of Northeast Mississippi.

At least 13 agencies were represented by 56 officers Saturday, competing in long gun, shotgun, handgun and obstacle course competitions.

Officers used their duty weapons during the competition.

“We want them to use the same weapons they would use on the street,” Gilbert said.

“We almost doubled attendance this year from the 35 last year,” said Capt. Allan Gilbert, CrimeStoppers coordinator. “And our sponsorship is incredible this year.”

The $45 admission fee and sponsors provide the money needed to run CrimeStoppers, an organization that pays reward money to people who provide tips in criminal investigations.

The winner of the overall event, Tim Bell of the Tupelo Police Department, took home a new AR-15 assault rifle.

“This is our tenth year and it’s the biggest event we’ve had,” said CrimeStoppers board member Eddie Richey. “Participant-wise it’s not the largest, but we had 50 sponsors this year and that’s the most we’ve ever had.”

jb.clark@journalinc.com