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Brian Willis

Brian Willis

Brian Willis is a retired officer, trainer and author who now serves as deputy executive director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA).

Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.

Don't Lose Your Discipline

Academy lessons are more important now than ever.

November 14, 2007  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

You are about to complete or have recently graduated the academy. Congratulations. But, are you going to change your lifestyle now? I certainly hope not. While attending the academy, most officers follow a plan to fit their academics and physical training into their schedules. Your skills now are still green but sharp. Don't quit!

For some of you, this is the best shape you have ever been in. Stay sharp. Keep training hard. The big fight looms out there, and you'll be glad you stayed in fighting shape—mentally and physically—when the day arrives.

Physical Training Needs

Now that you are in the streets, a regular fitness program is more necessary than ever. You must wear your uniform, your equipment belt with all its assorted items, and you'd better be wearing your vest. When you add all of this up, you probably have 30 extra pounds to lump around. That additional weight requires much more strength to just function normally, let alone go into action mode.

When you were running in the academy in sweats and running shoes it was rather easy. Now with boots and all the battle gear, it just got harder. Your ability to respond to physical confrontation will be greatly affected by this gear. Continue your aerobic and strength training. Train like your life depends on it, for it does!

Got Gym or Game? 

I am not talking about going to the gym every day, but physical activity should keep you at a level of fitness and readiness. Some of your departments have gyms. If yours does, make use of it. It's free. Some agencies may have agreements with the local gym.Take advantage of this arrangement. If none of these applies to you, improvise and find something convenient for you. Face it, if getting to the gym is not convenient for you, odds are you won't go!

Don't forget the classic fitness walk either. Some days you just need to burn off a little stress and a long, brisk walk can do it. Sports are also good alternatives for those who need a stress reliever. I have known many officers who include sports in their physical fitness regimen: martial arts, running 10Ks, bicycling, swimming, and so forth.

Riding in a golf cart drinking adult beverages does not count! You have got to sweat and earn it.

Have you got it? 

Work out, stay strong, and be prepared…you either have it in you or you are going to be a casualty out there.  The perpetrators are getting younger, quicker, and stronger. While they have all day to rest and play games, to goof off and plan their next gig, what are you doing now? If you're eating fast food, lying around, and getting away from your positive habits, you soon will be carrying another few pounds of you to the fight. You wanna win, don't you?

At my stage in life, with more than 30 years in this business, some look at me and wonder, Why would I get up and head to the YMCA at 0445 hours every morning? I still lift weights, do some bag work, and I hate the cardio machines more than you ever could. But I know that it lowers my stress, keeps me away from my doctors, and will worry the young perps…for they know this old man still has a warrior's edge.

If you've got it now, keep the edge sharp and win the fight. If you are losing your edge, I'll see you in the gym….Set the alarm early!

Train Smart and train hard. It's your life; take care of it.

Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Deputy8609 @ 1/28/2008 12:32 PM

I want to share a personal story on this topic for all the recruits that might read this. I started my career in civilian law enforcement back in 91. I was only two years out of the army and still in pretty decent shape and weighing in at around 200 pounds. Now lets fast forward to let's say 97. When I got married for the third time, I was weighing in at around 250 pounds. Now folks, that wasn't a fit 250 but rather a fat and really out of shape 250. I knew I was hurting in this department, but was in denial. My wife went on weight watchers and I went along the program with her. I also started walking. Now, let's fast forward to the present. Currently I am weighing in at around 165 pounds. My blood work is good, good Blood Pressure and everything checks out good. My secret? I still watch what I eat, though I fudge some on occasion. The real secret to my success is excercise. I try and run 3 miles a day at least 4 days a week. This isn't a jog, but a run. Lacking weight equipment, I will drop and do sets of 20-30 pushups several times throughout the day while at home. I might not be olympic material, but I excersise. Do this and stay fit for you, your family and the public that you protect. God Bless and God Speed.

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