Montevallo students, officers compete in inaugural Chief’s Challenge

MONTEVALLO – Local students put their physical fitness to the test against the city’s police officers in an activity held during Red Ribbon Week.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, students from Montevallo Middle and High schools gathered at the high school football stadium for the inaugural Chief’s Challenge, a race against police officers to complete the physical standards required to pass the Police Academy.

Sponsored by the Impact Montevallo Coalition, the event was designed to showcase the physical and mental benefits of avoiding alcohol and drugs.

“A variety of Red Ribbon Week activities were planned in an effort to provide opportunities for every type of student to find one of interest,” Impact Montevallo Program Director Sarah Hogan said. “The Chief’s Challenge idea seemed ideal for our students who enjoyed athletic or physical activities, spurred by Montevallo Police Chief Jeremy Littleton’s favorite hobby – running. The event gave officers an opportunity to showcase their standards and have fun by racing teens in meeting these APOST certified standards.”

The Police Academy standards include completing 22 push-ups in one minute, 25 sit-ups in one minute and a 1.5-mile run (about six laps), completed within 15 minutes and 28 seconds.

The Academy allows breaks between each section, but Montevallo’s standards are higher; therefore, the race was relay-style, continuing straight through each section.

Participants were encouraged to have an individual strategy and were allowed to choose their own breaks throughout the event.

“The Chief’s Challenge turned out to be a great event for the officers, students and community,” Littleton said. “I was happy with the participation and crowd that cheered us on. The event met its purpose of promoting a healthy drug-free lifestyle, but it also did much more; it provided an opportunity for officers to interact and support each other and students in a new way. I enjoyed being able to run next to and encourage participants to keep going.”

With more than 20 students participating in the event, two heats were held, one for males and one for females.

Seven officers including Littleton competed in the event, and two daughters of officers represented in the female heat.

Winners of the challenge received a Subway gift card, Impact Montevallo T-shirt and other items, such as a signed sticker from the chief to aid in bragging rights.

The winners included MHS student Cody Posey, MMS student Sam Adams, MHS student Hannah Locks and Littleton.

Alli Burr and Falynn Wolfe, the officers’ daughters who represented the MPD on behalf of their dads, received tokens of appreciation.

Event participants were socially distanced, and volunteers wore masks.

School resource officers also participated in an effort to entice participation from the students.

Winners were allowed to nominate a faculty or staff member to pie their SRO in the face.

“Montevallo is grateful to have two full-time school resource officers this year,” Hogan said. “Officer David Holloway serves at Montevallo High School, and Officer Wayne Wilhite serves Montevallo Elementary and Middle Schools. They are working diligently to not only provide the best security at schools to ensure safety of all, but to also serve as an educator and mentor for students. Being willing to take a pie to the face is just one example of how these officers demonstrate their dedication to the students and their role as SRO.”

JiJi Davis, Impact Montevallo’s school sector representative, represented the middle school to pie Wilhite, while Katie Roy, Montevallo High School’s cheerleading coach, made sure Holloway was well-covered in whipped cream.

Littleton could not let his officers suffer alone, so he took a pie to the face from outgoing Mayor Hollie Cost.

“This was just a fun way to interact with the community and students,” Holloway said. “It allows citizens to see us as human and willing to be a part of their team, and that we are all members of this community.”

Hogan said an indicator of the new event’s success was overhearing students ask if it would be held again next year.

“We were proud to be able to provide an opportunity for our youth to engage with leaders and mentors in the community in a fun way to build community spirit and relationships to celebrate the benefits of staying drug-free,” Hogan said. “I can’t thank Chief Littleton and the officers enough for all they do for Montevallo.”

Discussions are already underway for a possible community 5K event, as well as next year’s Chief’s Challenge with the Montevallo Fire Department.