The bright and early morning was pierced by the sounds of gunfire, rattling chain-link fences and shouting as law enforcement officials vied for the championship of the "Tough Cop" competition, part of the weeklong Georgia Police & Fire Games.
Nearly 20 men and women braved the series of physical challenges, which included pushing a truck 75 feet, scaling a 6-foot wall and shooting reactionary targets.
Lt. Joe Carter of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said, "We try to incorporate skills that may be needed for officers in the performance of their duties."
Carter said the competitors are scored by how fast they complete the obstacle course. Time penalties are given for not completing different parts of the course.
Participants came from areas across the state, including Cornelia, Cherokee, Gwinnett, Chamblee, Athens-Clarke and Forsyth. The event was held at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office training facility.
The Tough Cop competition was the perfect birthday setting for Will Sargent, 9, who came with friends to watch the event.
"My dad is a policeman and I want to be just like him," he said.
Deputy Josh Riggins of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said the Tough Cop challenge stemmed from the accumulation of obstacles, not any one thing.
"You probably feel pretty good until you hit that hill. As soon as you get up the hill, you’re winded, and (then) you hit the wall," Riggins said.
"By the time you get around to shooting, you’re breathing pretty hard and your hands are starting to shake a little bit."
But competitors had a treat awaiting them after the final sprint to the finish line: a relaxing massage in the shade of a tent.
The Georgia Police & Fire Games will continue through Saturday. For more information, call 770-531-6842.