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Dallas Cops Drag, Crawl and Shoot It Out for the Department's Top Gun Title

DPD officer Clarence Chapman signs off on his Top Gun score sheet after detective Pam Starr judged his run through the course. Points off for shooting the reporter.
DPD officer Clarence Chapman signs off on his Top Gun score sheet after detective Pam Starr judged his run through the course. Points off for shooting the reporter.
Photos by Patrick Michels

Not saying I know something you don't, but: if Dallas gets hit with a bioterrorism attack, and the only vaccine is inside a heavily guarded briefcase at Parkland Hospital, and the only doctor who knows how to make more of it is being held hostage by a gun-wielding maniac -- well, patrol officer Paul Ford, out of the DPD's Southwest Patrol Division, might just be the best chance we've got.

That's according to the results from today's DPD Top Gun competition, an annual three-part test of marksmanship, safety and agility, where Ford beat out 36 of the department's other top shots out by Mountain Creek Lake.

Along with the bioterror simulation, officers shot through a doorway at a series of targets from seven to 15 feet and completed a course lined with targets, hostages and a TV anchor clearly identifiable by his thick, pristine head of hair. Officers scored points by shooting targets and finishing fast, and lost points for shooting hostages and, I was assured, the reporter.

Detective Pam Starr, who we last chased around during former Police Chief David Kunkle's exit workout, said they devise a new course every year, complete with different sorts of cover -- this year's included a metal barrel, a window and a stack of railroad ties.

A showroom full of fabulous merchandise awaited the day's top finishers, including rifles and assorted electronics. Senior Corporal Garret Hellinger played Iceman to Ford's Maverick, and officer Jerry Hornback was today's Goose, I guess, finishing third.

Jump for more shots from the competition.

Officer Robert Hamilton races to drag a simulated injured partner to safety behind a police car, to begin his run through the course.
Officer Robert Hamilton races to drag a simulated injured partner to safety behind a police car, to begin his run through the course.
Hamilton takes a shot from behind the cover of some railroad ties.
Hamilton takes a shot from behind the cover of some railroad ties.
Starr grades Hamilton's performance along the course.
Starr grades Hamilton's performance along the course.
An officer fires through a doorway at a series of targets in another of the competition's events.
An officer fires through a doorway at a series of targets in another of the competition's events.
An officer cleans his gun before packing it up at the end of the day.
An officer cleans his gun before packing it up at the end of the day.

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