Cover Story

Priority One Call
By Jay Martinez, Former U.S. Recon Marine, Retired Detective, Active Sheepdog

The demands that are placed squarely on the shoulders of today’s first responders are exceedingly heavy. Body and car cameras, Narcan, active shooters, runaway cars—this is more than some can carry. Even for the fittest of cops that load weighs as much as a piano and Butterbean the former super heavyweight champ after he’s eaten lunch at an all you can eat buffet. All joking aside, envision the officer who is out of step and has become obese throughout his or her career.

Approximately 40% of Americans are considered obese. Moreover, we have the most obese children in the world. Of course, we can blame the design of our societies. Fast and processed foods are everywhere. Last week at the movies, between the buttered popcorn, Raisinets and the 64 oz. soda, my family consumed approximately 7,000 calories. I wanted to push my car home just to burn that stuff off.

But never mind the scale, the harm of carrying 100-300 extra pounds may potentially plunge the officer into the same black abyss that Leonidas kicked the Persian into, as he screamed out, “This is Sparta!”

Setting aside how physically and emotionally demanding the business of police and corrections work are, the officer now is tipping the scale at 300-500 pounds. They are a ticking time bomb in a sense. That coupled with stress can be extremely detrimental and critically harmful. We know that the heart is taxed (it’s working overtime just to sleep), breathing is tough to come by, joints are aching, internal organs are struggling mightily. The officer has no motivation, no drive, they are suffering from insomnia, depression and have had thoughts of ending their own tour.

Every so often, the officer’s heart rate climbs dangerously. A blood pressure check proves that they must take action immediately! But then a priority one call comes in, and the officer struggles to regain their wherewithal. When a code comes over the radio, overweight officers walk down long corridors and slowly climb steps while other CO’s sprint. The preservation of life demands officers to push themselves to potentially save a life of an officer down.

A similar call on the street the police officer can hardly gain entry behind their driver’s seat. But the time is ticking and an officer needs assistance. Not able to climb the seven flights of stairs expeditiously. At the flag folding ceremony, all eyes are on the ostracized officer who failed. He failed the graven officer and his children. These hypotheticals paint realistic possibilities of a business that is, as Yoda once explained it to be to his padawan. “Do or do not, there is no try!”

Annually, on the Officer Down list exists a category labeled, other. On average, other claims approximately eleven officers. Yes, by all accounts, other refers to heart attacks. Heart attacks are caused by issues that are compounded by lack of personal regulation. And as a matter of fact and for the strict reasons of clarity, by all means, this is a rigorous personal matter! Personal to the extent of choices and decisions. The choice to eat healthily or eat crap. The choice to walk the dog or lay around on the couch, cajoling yourself with excuses. It’s time to discard the excuses. It’s time to let go of the pacifier and reach for your running shoes. This is a priority one call, officer, and you are potentially the officer down.

So, avoid the hindrances and find intervention. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and infertility are related to obesity. If your BMI is 25-30, you need to immediately find remedies, over 30 means you are obese. You do not want to be part of that other category! You must generate a workout regimen and a clear, simple nutritional plan. Medication can help and surgery can assist you in gaining some needed motivation and inspiration. Call your insurance carrier and request nutritional advice. But, follow the KISS rule- keep it simple, stupid (officer).

I believe that the hardest part of a workout is getting your sneakers on. Furthermore, who said that you need to get into Olympic shape? How about simple consideration of similar activities, such as:

  • Walking in a park
  • Playing ball with your kid
  • Basketball
  • Biking
  • Racquetball
  • Swimming
  • Hiking

    Like Dr. Oz likes to say, “You cannot depend on willpower.” Basically, you need to find a plan that is fun and works for you. But we also realize that there are other contributing factors that the fraternity in blue needs to push through, like:

  • Tough work hours
  • High stress
  • Alcohol and police work go hand and hand (so can the 12 oz. cans of suds)
  • Some officers do not pack meals (packing a meal is sensible, inexpensive and can help you significantly)
  • Mandatory overtime demands

But again, excuses are futile here. You need to push past them before your body pushes back and hits the wall. Another serious topic of discussion needs to be obesity causes depression; lackluster work ethic (which in police work creates more stress from the brass and no one likes a lazy cop) and all of this can be the causation of a vast chasm. That space now creates a divorce, and that loneliness dramatically intensifies and has a prolonging effect.

Can we end on a very personal note, can we sit down and mention this part? In this magazine, we care enough to write clear articles that tug at the root of the matter. The Blue root of the matter. At times we are in the business of saving the lives of the nation’s first responders, because if not us, then who? Officer, your kids, and your family want and need you around. You can do this, we at Blue can help. Reach out before it is too late, this is a life-altering article and I really mean it. I can be reached at, Jmartinez@warningorder.net, stay safe, Ooo-rah!

Jay Martinez is the founder of Warning Order—a highly specialized law enforcement training company. For more information on EDP training, e-mail Jmartinez@warningorder.net or visit warningorder.net