San Angelo to Host Police Games in 2016
San Angelo streets will be a lot safer on June 12-17, 2016, when an estimated additional 1,700 Texas police officers and their families stream into the city for the 42nd Annual Texas Police Games.
Formerly known as the Police Olympics, the weeklong competitive sporting event will pit officers from agencies all over the state against one another in a battle to take the win in over 30 events.
Softball, wrestling, karate and basketball are just some of the categories of events officers may enter to compete in, however the games also include competitive rounds of Dominos and Texas Hold ‘Em for the less physically inclined.
The events in San Angelo will be held at a number of community venues, with the majority of the cost carried by entrants in different events. In addition to the sports sanctioned by the Texas Police Athletic Federation (TPAF), local organizer Officer Rick Tinsley hopes to make full use of what San Angelo has to offer by adding events on the river.
“We’re considering having—in addition to these sports—a kayak or canoe race on the Concho River,” Tinsley said. “It won’t be a sanctioned sport, so if we do that, we’ll be providing the trophies and the medals for that. But part of the reason we want to host these games is we want to showcase San Angelo and show people what San Angelo is all about.”
Each year, the Texas Police Games are held in a different Texas city, mostly metropolitan areas with enough facility diversity to accommodate the long list of sporting events. Smaller cities that have hosted the games in the past have relied on partnerships with neighboring towns, and San Angelo hasn’t played host to the games since 1983.
“For San Angelo to host it on our own, it’s a pretty big deal,” Tinsley said. “For the city, we’re looking at about 1,700 competitors. A lot of those bring spouses and children, so that’s at least 1,700 heads in beds. That’s a pretty big deal.”
A lot has changed in the community since the last time the Police Games drew in officers from around the state, and Tinsley said part of the department’s decision to move forward with a bid was a desire to showcase what San Angelo has to offer. The week will also provide local officers the opportunity to network and forge valuable friendships with officers in other jurisdictions, he said.
“Whenever we get the chance to meet other officers from other cities, it’s really a neat opportunity,” Tinsley said. “I have some friends in the Abilene PD and I have some friends in the Austin PD. If I need something, I can call them up…and they know who I am and they help me. It’s a little bit harder if you don’t have a contact, so part of the big part of these games is that you get to know officers from other cities.”
The announcement that San Angelo had been selected as host for 2016 games came Saturday night over a barbecue, when three TAPF board members visited San Angelo to sign the agreement.
So far, signed and verbal agreements have been forged with many participating facilities in town, and the remainder will be formally signed over in the coming months. Each event will be overseen by a local event coordinator, and officials and volunteers to assist during the games will be sought as the event approaches.
Because they will be needed to help coordinate events, many of the local officers will not be able to compete in 2016, Tinsley said, however some will enter various competitions.
“A lot of officers will take a little bit of karate or a little bit of judo or a little bit of something else because it can help us in our work, but we have some that can qualify to compete that would be worthy opponents,” he explained.
Basketball, power lifting and co-ed softball have been popular choices for men and women in the department in the past, and the SWAT event promises to draw many to the San Angelo Police Department’s obstacle course and gun range.
With the exception of the SWAT event, which has been excluded for liability reasons, the public is invited to attend all events as spectators free of charge. Several events will run concurrently, with heavy schedules planned for Wednesday through Friday of that week. Social events featuring local live music will be held on the evenings after events.
Enthused about the upcoming games, Tinsley said, “I love San Angelo. Just the opportunity to bring something like this to San Angelo is really pretty neat.”
For more information on the Texas Police Games, visit their Facebook page.
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