Cops Using Steroids To Bulk Up To Get An Edge
As a brand-new police officer, Chris Holden wanted to do everything he could to protect himself, especially after he heard about a highway patrolman who was shot to death in a struggle over his gun. So he began bulking up with steroids. Now Holden, 31, is out of work, one of four members of the Norman [Oklahoma] Police Department who were fired last fall after being accused of using bodybuilding steroids. Police officers in Mississippi, Ohio, Connecticut, Hawaii, Colorado, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas and New York have also been accused of steroid-related offenses in recent years. In many cases, they were charged with using, possessing or dealing steroids.
Steroids are attractive to some officers who know that an intimidating physique can ward off conflict or give them the upper hand in a life-or-death struggle. “The thinking is that big is better than small, tough is better than weak,” said Gene Sanders, a former police officer who has worked for nearly 15 years as a police psychologist for several agencies in California. “There is sort of an underground, unspoken tradition among several departments that I’ve worked with that if you really want to bulk up, this is the best way to do it.”
But steroids can also lead to heart disease, liver damage and shrunken testicles, as well as uncontrolled aggression, or “roid rage,” which can be especially dangerous in a law officer. “These substances can cause depression and despondency, and here is a person who has a weapon,” said Dr. Linn Goldberg, head of Oregon Health & Science University’s Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine.
One can certainly understand the desire of police officers to be big and strong. Enraged, depressed, impotent, and prematurely dead though, would seem to outweigh those advantages.