Once upon a time not so long ago being physically fit was not necessarily a requirement to be a police officer. Uniforms did not look good on out-of-shape officers; as a matter of fact, the uniforms sort of hung on the officer. We had (have) officers with large waist sizes and shirts (necks) were in the high teens on into the twenties. Heart attacks or suicide were not uncommon causes of death. The hardest drug those “older” guys took was heart medication or alcohol (or, unfortunately, both).
That was before regular exercise was pushed into the life styles of officers. There are a few of the old breed still around however, not having been forced out to pasture or to a position where they’re not seen.
There are also are the officers who for many years worked days without sleep due to man power shortages. In some cases, there were only 4 officers to a department and hundreds of miles of territory. Some of those departments still exist. Along with that was low pay which led to more off duty work to pay the bills. More work meant less sleep, less healthy eating and virtually no exercise time.
Beginning in the mid to late 1990’s and early 2000’s things began to change as the baby boomers became older. Department budgets increased; overtime pay, comp time, or vacations were allowed. Trends today are for police departments to hire young officers that were fit and trim. Those new officers work out daily and are muscular or “pumped up” as they call it.
Some departments pay gym memberships or have work out rooms to continue the officer’s fitness. This is a good thing; however, to keep up the image officers have sometimes taken it a step further. They start with vitamin supplements containing who knows what that have never been tested by the Food and Drug Administration. Then some turn to anabolic steroids (AAS) for getting more muscle mass, lowering body fat or “buffing up.” Some officers utilize injected steroids which leave the body quickly, cutting the chance of a drug test catching them.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A former police officer pled guilty In U.S. District court to selling AAS which he purchased from another police officer. He, along with other officers, was running a gang in the department furnishing AAS to others. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute AAS and two counts with intend to distribute. He was a 14 year veteran.
Broward County, Florida: Sheriff Deputy David Agosto was arrested by Hollywood Police Street Crimes Unit. Members of the BSO unit were conducting surveillance in the area when they saw Agosto and David Kader in the IHOP parking lot. The officer searched Kader’s car. They discovered over 20,000 pills, glass jars suspected testosterone, and syringes. Also, an AK-47, 2 magazines, a Glock 40, and $2821.00. When Agosto was approached he displayed his ID and gave the officer a bottle of AAS. He admitted to purchasing the pills from Kader. Agosto and Kader bonded out of jail. It was unknown at that time if either were using the drugs.
“Larry Gaines, chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice at California State University in San Bernardino, California said in a speech law enforcement steroid use is a problem around the country and, given that steroid use can cause aggression, can invite problems for police, said “Aggression is not very common but nonetheless it’s a possible problem. If it does occur, you could see lawsuits against police departments regarding citizens injured from steroid rage.”
Victor Conte, founder of the now-defunct lab known as Bay Area Lab Co-Operative that supplied numerous athletes with AAS and other banned substances, said it wouldn't surprise him if as many as a quarter of police officers were using some kind of performance-enhancing drug.