It’s always a good idea to be friendly to an officer of the law, and to never challenge his or her authority, or at least their ability to carry out their authorized duties. That goes double for the conservation officers from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The enforcement staff of the state wildlife agency owns the title “Fittest Force in the Nation” after winning the top spot in the 17th annual National LawFit Challenge, held in Southaven in June. More than 150 officers from around the country competed in six events: bench press, 1.5-mile run, sit-ups, flexibility, pull-ups and a suspect-pursuit course.

The MDWFP team included Pvt. Derrick Scott, Corp. Justin Gates, Pvt. Cody Barber, Pvt. Cody Corso, Pvt. Tamarrius Good, Lt. Ricky Barry, Lt. Marcus Christon, Pvt. Karri Fulton. Here is their take from the event:

• First place bench press: Gates.

• First place 1.5-mile run: Scott.

• First place pull-ups: Christon.

• First place suspect pursuit course: Christon.

• First overall male: Scott.

• Second overall male: Christon.

• Third overall male: Gates 390

• First place Mixed pairs: Scott and Fulton.

• First place overall team: Scott, Christon, Justin Gates, and Barber.