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Kids best cops again in annual match at Chicopee center
Austin Poole, 12, takes aim at the target Saturday morning while shooting coach Charlie Mix watches at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center during the 4-H Cops and Kids shooting competition.

The cops went up against the kids again on the firing line Saturday, and there was little doubt who would come out on top.

“It’s a given the kids are going to beat us every year,” Gainesville Police Office Kevin Holbrook said.

More than a dozen 4-H junior marksmen ages 10 to 14 competed against Gainesville police and Hall County Sheriff’s deputies in the fifth annual Cops and Kids Target Challenge at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.

And when it’s a BB gun being used to shoot at targets, law enforcement officers more accustomed to rifles and pistols with a kick are at a disadvantage.

For 10-year-old Samantha Simonton, the competition gave her a chance to practice her marksmanship for deer hunting season and get a refresher in firearm safety.

For every hour on the range, students in the Shooting Awareness Fun and Education program get an hour of classroom instruction.
Competing against law enforcement officers was the highlight.

“I think it’s very cool. It’s awesome we get a chance to do this,” she said.

This year, with state funding to 4-H programs endangered by the threat of cuts, officials stressed the need for continuing programs like the Cops and Kids Challenge.

“It’s really important to keep it alive,” Shooting Sport Coach Sherman Pass said.

“This program shows there can be positives between kids and guns and interaction with law enforcement. It’s not just our club – there’s a lot of kids involved and it would really be upsetting for the state to take (funding) away.”

Holbrook said the competition gives police and sheriff’s deputies a chance to let their guards down and have a relaxed, friendly rivalry while spending quality time with children in the community.

“There’s more to it than just coming out and shooting a BB gun,” he said.

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