Gloucester police officers have been working to shed the doughnut lovers stereotype, and maybe a few pounds too, with more than 40 officers competing in a fitness challenge that began in January and runs to mid-April.
“It’s fun, hopefully we can change the image of the department and it’s really about everyone’s health,” said Sgt. Dave Quinn, who organized this year’s police fitness challenge.
Though Gloucester police have undergone similar fitness programs, most recently in 2008, Quinn said that, with a young police force that featured some already lean officers, others decided this year to add a focus on general strength and overall health.
“It was strictly a weight loss challenge and we wanted to bring that back. We have a lot of young guys that unfortunately don’t have a lot to lose,” Quinn said.
Patrolman Jonathan Trefry, who exercises four or five times a week, falls into that category. Quinn helped Trefry load four 45-pound saucer weights onto a barbell in the police station’s garage gym Tuesday afternoon.
Trefry shouldered the weight in the small room, packed with second-hand free weights, gym machines and cardio equipment, much of which was donated by Kurt Gross, the owner of the Fitness Zone, police said. National Grid, through local resident and Citizens for Public Safety activist Jamie O’Hara, also donated some of the equipment in the facility, police said.
Trefry finished the exercise and re-racked the long metal bar with careful form. Though Trefry, along with team captains Josiah Aberle and Pete Cherry, have urged on other members of their three teams to exercise more and eat thoughtfully, Trefry said most officer do not need instruction, just encouragement.
“It’s really important to build a morale in the department. It’s more getting back in the spirit of it,” Trefry said. “It’s important to get in shape for what we might have to do. You never know when you’ll have to chase someone down or climb over a fence.”