Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Record Update First

Two DPS officers to compete in World Police and Fire Games

Sgt. Gary Hicks and Officer John-Mark Branch of the Department of Public Safety will join more than 12,000 athletes from police and fire agencies around the world to compete at the 2009 World Police and Fire Games.

The event, to be held in early August in British Columbia, Canada, will feature competitions in more than 60 sports, ranging from angling and archery to wrestling and team events.

Hicks, a campus police officer since 1991, is a U-M alumnus and former track letter winner. In Vancouver he plans to compete in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, 100-meter high hurdles and high jump. At the 2007 World Police and Fire Games in Australia, Hicks earned a bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles.

“It is a great opportunity to socialize and compete with officers from hundreds of other agencies who have like interests,” Hicks says. “Plus it gives me specific goals to achieve in my fitness training.”

Branch, a 10-year veteran of the department, will compete in an eight-phase event titled the Toughest Competitor Alive (TCA). In one day, TCA athletes will compete in a 5K run, shot put, a 100-meter dash, a 100-meter swim, a 20-foot rope climb, bench press, pull-ups and an obstacle course.

A criminal justice graduate of Madonna University, Branch also plans to compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter runs. He previously competed in the 2007 games in Australia and the 2003 games in Spain.

“I’m a competitor and I like winning,” Branch explains when asked why he competes at the games. “The opening ceremonies are just like out of a movie. They feel just like you are attending the Olympics — complete with cheering crowds, walking into the stadium by country and finishing with fireworks.”

Each officer is responsible to pay his own expenses to compete at the games. A bowling fundraiser open to the public is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. May 30 at Colonial Lanes in Ann Arbor. For tickets or additional information, e-mail