Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Farmington City Councilman Rick Dutson, left, gets shooting instruction from police Lt. Shan Whitaker.

FRUIT HEIGHTS — Call it training. Call it fun. Call it dinner.

But when you get all of the members of a city council together on purpose, you have to call it an official city council meeting.

So when the Farmington City Council and mayor decided to go shooting at the Wasatch Shooters Association Public Shooting Range in Fruit Heights, they had to notify the public that they were off to have some fun on Thursday.

It's a chance for the City Council to experience the training the city's police officers go through on a regular basis. And it's a blast.

"I look forward to this every year," said Mayor Scott Harbertson, adding that this is the second year the council has gone shooting with the police department. It's likely to become a long-standing tradition.

In 2007, the police department invited the council to learn some shooting skills, and council members took turns handling AR-15 assault rifles, but this year, Kimber .45-caliber handguns were the weapon of choice.

Police Cpl. Joel Knapp, the department's chief firearms instructor, said 85 percent of all officer-involved shootings happen at close range, and the weapon a Farmington officer is most likely to have is his Kimber .45.

A few safety rules for the council and spouses who tagged along:

• The gun is always loaded.

• Don't point it at anything you don't want to kill or destroy.

• Only in Hollywood do people keep their finger on the trigger at all times.

Council members warmed up their aim by shooting at targets and warmed up the trash talking toward Councilman David Hale.

Last year, the police put council members through their "Top Gun" timed challenge course to see how swiftly and accurately they could take out targets.

Hale won, and this year everyone seemed to be gunning for him. But the humble defending champion said his victory was beginner's luck.

"I probably used a lot more shells than everyone else," he said.

This year, Councilman Cory Ritz had the fastest time: 59 seconds. But he missed four targets.

So the victory will likely go to Councilman Rick Dutson, who finished with a time of 1:07, with one missed target.

The "Top Gun" winner will be crowned in a future, normal council meeting, once scores are tabulated and weighted.

That's when the council has to get back to making land-use decisions, holding public hearings, debating park rules, hearing complaints, passing resolutions and all of the other less exciting tasks city councils are entrusted to perform.

Those meetings don't end with chicken fajitas at sunset. But at least the police department now has a few potential reserve officers.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com