Fitness For The Force
CrossFit law enforcement affiliation for police departmentsBy Greg Amundson | Apr 28, 2015
Many of the early supporters and proponents for CrossFit were modern day warriors–the men and women who served and protected our nation both domestic and abroad. More often than not, it only took one CrossFit workout to realize the similarity between “fighting for one more repetition” and “fighting for your life” during a violent encounter. There are hundreds of stories of law enforcement officers, following their first CrossFit workout, exclaiming, “It felt like I was fighting for my life!”
In addition to the demanding metabolic intensity of the CrossFit workouts, foundational CrossFit skills such as the deadlift, squat, clean, and pull-up, are extremely applicable to the demands of the law enforcement profession.
Furthermore, the variance of the workouts compliments the “unknown and unknowable” dangers of the typical patrol duties. Add to the equation specific lifestyle and nutrition guidelines and you have a fitness program perfectly suited for public safety.
Affiliation that Works
One of the first police departments to realize the potential life-saving benefits of CrossFit was Colorado State Patrol. State Trooper Jon Barba (now Major Jon Barba) was a strong proponent for implementing CrossFit into the Colorado State Patrol Academy, and the results of implementation were astounding.
Recruits were instructed in foundational CrossFit techniques, and put through the rigorous CrossFit workouts, for the entire 6-month academy. To test the merits of the program, the recruits were still required to perform standardized academy fitness testing, which they promptly dominated. However, the best results of CrossFit implementation were the inspiration and education for maintaining physical fitness the new troopers proudly carried into their careers.
Across the Country at Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office, SWAT operator and academy instructor T.J. Cooper implemented a similar program for both the Sheriff’s Academy and the Departments SWAT Team, with equally compelling results.
“Implementing CrossFit into the Colorado State Patrol Academy resulted in a stronger, more physically and mentally fit Trooper, who was inspired to continue to train in CrossFit for their entire career,” says Barbra.
Thanks largely to the efforts of Barba and Cooper, police departments across the nation began to take note and adopted the CrossFit program by formally affiliating with CrossFit and creating non-profit CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate Gyms.The first Department to create an official CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate Gym was San Jose (Calif.) Police Department. Today, there are nearly 50 non-profit CrossFit Law Enforcement gyms.
The benefits of a CrossFit gym integrated into the culture and community of individual law enforcement agencies are numerous. Increased physical fitness, mental toughness, decision-making, community relationships, defensive tactics effectiveness, decreased workman’s compensation, decreased use of sick-leave, increased officer retention and use as a recruiting tool for new department applicants–are but a few of the reported advantages of affiliation. On the intangible side we see increased morale, esprit de corps, teamwork, interpersonal relationships, pride in the department/profession and a sense of unity between ranks.
Departments also claim a decrease in use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints. I believe it. There’s a strong correlation between an officer’s physical and mental fitness and their ability to use lesser degrees of force when apprehending suspects.
Furthermore, a physically fit officer’s command presence enhances their public relationships and decreases a potential offenders likelihood of resisting arrest.
“CrossFit workouts give our officers a confidence and command presence that we believe prevents physical confrontations with suspects from happening–suspects usually do not start fights they do not think they can win. CrossFit also makes our officers stronger and more fit, so they will win the fight that has to happen,” says Chief of Police James Band of Oregon City Police Department, also a CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate gym.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of CrossFit Affiliation for Law Enforcement is the fact affiliation is completely free. As long as the department maintains a non-profit status with their affiliation agreement, all fees are waived. Officers interested in being an ambassador for their department and spearheading a CrossFit program are in good company. Every level of department across the nation, ranging from federal agencies to small municipal departments, have successfully affiliated with CrossFit. The officers and special agents operating their respective CrossFit gyms want nothing more than to be a catalyst for their brothers and sisters in blue to implement a similar program.
“Officers don’t need to reinvent the wheel when implementing CrossFit at their Department. Those that have already created a CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate gym are here to help,” says Lt. Brian Hester, who runs the beautiful indoor/outdoor CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate gym at St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.
To learn more about CrossFit and the CrossFit Law Enforcement Affiliate program, please visit CrossFit.com, CrossFitLawEnforcement.com or e-mail Greg Amundson at [email protected]