They were partners for six years on the Kansas City Police Department's SWAT team. Now, they're competing against each other on a national TV show.
Sgts. Curtis Coppinger and D.J. Merrill never miss a chance to show who the quickest draw is. So the opportunity to test their skills on national television was too good to pass up.
The longtime buddies both applied to compete on the new show Elite Tactical Unit: S.W.A.T. airing now on Outdoor Channel.
Merrill was accepted first.
"He just submitted his paperwork first," Coppinger said.
"We'll leave it at that," Merrill laughed.
The guys spent all of last August filming, competing against 11 other men and one woman from SWAT teams across the country, on the kinds of missions they face every day, testing their judgment, speed and marksmanship.
"Basically like a hostage rescue situation, active shooter situation," Coppinger said.
They might make it look easy, but they put in a lot of hours to be as good as they are.
"We both shoot and stay in physical shape on a regular basis, but we knew we needed to try to get to the top of our game," Merrill said.
The judges eliminate one contestant every episode, until there is one left standing, who wins $10,000 plus another $100,000 for his or her home police department.
"Departments these days always need extra money. It's always budget constraints, so it would definitely be nice to be able to give a little bit back to them, especially for the support we were shown leading up to this," Merrill said.
Four episodes in, and the guys are still going strong, but audiences won't learn who wins until the show is over at the end of March.
"We represented the department very well. I don't think either one of us have anything to be disappointed about," Coppinger said.
And with their skills proven, they are already bringing a lot home for their department.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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