POSTED: 10/17/15, 9:37 PM PDT | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO
Fairfield Police K9 Officer John Divine waited at the ready as a shooting competition judge checked his timer and asked him if he understood the drill he was about to perform.
After Divine said yes, his drill began. He grabbed a handgun and began shooting through a crack between two wooden barriers. He then ducked to the left of the barriers and shot at his target again.
The drill was one of four courses in the Fairfield Police Officer’s Association’s Fifth Annual Fallen Officers Shooting Competition. Saturday’s event, held at the Art Koch Training Facility in Fairfield was meant to commemorate fallen officers.
Since 1896, 14 police officers have died in the line of duty in Solano County, said Fairfield Police Officer Cade Beckwith, who organizes the competition.
When the competition started five years ago, it was intended to honor Fairfield Police Sergeant Art Koch — who died in 1984 and is the only Fairfield police officer who has ever died in the line of duty — and Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Cisneros, who died in 1985, according to Beckwith.
Then in 2011, Vallejo Police Officer Jim Capoot was killed. Beckwith and several other Fairfield officers helped cover shifts for Vallejo officers during that time, said Beckwith, who had just started the shooting competition at the time.
“We decided we had to expand it to all officers,” he said.
The competition also raises money for the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy, said Beckwith, who coordinates the drill instructors at the Academy.
The Academy is a public school that currently serves about 600 students in grades five through 11, he said, adding that the school operates on a military structure that emphasizes discipline, respect and attention to detail.
“It gives kids something we don’t give them anymore in society,” he said.
Twenty-five cadets from the school volunteered Saturday to help with the competition.
“They’re a well-disciplined group,” said Daly City Police Detective Lilian Tashiro watching as several cadets from the Academy patched up the shooting targets between drills.
The four shooting courses in the training facility were made out of wooden walls and plastic barrels, meant to serve as obstacles. The courses are meant to simulate shooting scenarios that officers encounter in the field, such as shooting from behind a wall or vehicle, Tashiro said. “You might have to be in an awkward position.”
Officers from Vallejo, Napa and Sacramento are participating this year said Fairfield Police Sgt. Franco Cesar.
“It’s a great networking tool for cops,” said Cesar, who helped create the event along with Beckwith.
Fairfield Police Cpt. Randy Fenn came out to watch and support his department.
“The skills that they’re showing are not only important for their safety, but the safety of the rest of the community,” Fenn said, as he looked through a window onto the competition floor.
Competition winners will receive guns, Beckwith added.