Cops on Gear
A Roundtable Discussion
Moderated by Chris Shugart
Imagine if your job was to take down bad guys and make the world a safer place, just like your favorite superhero. You'd probably want to be pretty big and strong, right? Heck, your body alone would be a visual deterrent when dealing with baddies. Now imagine if there was a magic potion that could help you increase your super powers. You'd probably take it, right? The problem is, this magic potion is illegal to use in most places. If you use it, you're breaking the law, yet, ironically, your job is to uphold the law.
This is the dilemma faced today by many law enforcement officers who use performance enhancing drugs. Is this the ultimate example of hypocrisy? Or does this situation merely exemplify the fallacy of America's so-called war on drugs? Without passing judgement, T-mag decided to talk to three steroid-using cops about this topic. The names have been changed to protect the officers.
Chris: What area of law enforcement do you guys work in?
Law Dawg: I work as a detective in the narcotics division in a major city in Alabama.
T-Cop: I'm a Sheriff's Deputy.
Officer Mongo: I work for a small city police department. My department only has maybe forty officers. I'm a canine patrol officer and SWAT team leader.
Chris: Now, a lot of people would give you shit for being cops and steroid users. What do you say to them?
Law Dawg: Only a few select, very trusted friends actually know that I cycle every now and then. Sure, I get stares at the gym and everyone knows my occupation, so the rumors fly, but it never goes further than that. When I'm asked how I got so big, I just reply, "Creatine is a wonderful thing."
T-Cop: Well, the irony of the situation isn't lost on me. It's wrong, period. There's not really any way to justify it.
Officer Mongo: First off, those people who would criticize us usually don't have to worry about fighting a 300-pound gang member "dusted up" on PCP. I do. I mean, nowadays it seems that society wants its police officers to be "social workers with a badge," but on the street where your life is on the line, it's a whole new story.
Violent criminals will sue you if you hit them with your baton; they sue if you spray them with pepper spray; they sue you if you taser them, and often times they win or the department settles, making the officer look bad. What other choices do we have but to be physically prepared to fight and fight hard! We have families, we have children, and by God I'm going home to them every night, even if I have to crush you to do it!
Chris: Is there an advantage to being "on" in law enforcement? Seems like a lot of those SWAT guys are juiced up.
Law Dawg: I don't think it gives me any real advantage at work. I believe there have been times when I was placing someone under arrest that they would have resisted with a guy with a little less size than me, but other than that my steroid use is strictly personal, not job related.
Officer Mongo: Yes, there's a definite advantage for me, without a doubt. I'm a SWAT team leader and there have been times where we'll be serving a search warrant on a violent offender who's willing to fight you before going back to prison. To know that in most cases I'm stronger than the offender gives me tremendous confidence to do the job without hesitation.
T-Cop: I've learned that as a deputy, most of the time, good people skills and common sense will settle most issues. I did, however, work in a state prison a while back and really enjoyed the advantage. In a situation like that, if you don't shut it down it can get out of hand pretty quick. If I was a SWAT guy, I'd be a juiceball, too. Those guys are really tough.
Chris: Would you say steroid use is common in law enforcement? Is there a "branch" that does more juice than other types of cops?
Officer Mongo: I don't think it's very common, but then again how many of them would talk about it? I mean, here you have three out of how many cops out there? I do know one guy who's on a different SWAT team that's a diabetic. Well, everyone knows that insulin is very anabolic and so he "tweaks" it here and there. He's very strong, but over all I don't think it's that common.
T-Cop: Well, this is all speculation on my part, but I'd say that you'd probably find more use in the higher risk units. I've seen a lot of huge state troopers, but who knows?
Law Dawg: It's not common with the guys I work with; most are out of shape really bad. I think, in my area, anyone associated with the fire department juices quite often. They have spare time to hit the weights at their stations and most of those guys are huge. The policemen in Alabama, in general, don't take care of themselves.
Chris: Now, I'm not so sure that "roid rage" exists per se, but many would say that a cop on steroids would be more likely to go off on a perp and beat him unnecessarily or even lose his temper and draw his gun. What do you say to that?
Officer Mongo: There's no truth to that at all. First, I'm not a huge believer in "roid rage." I've never had it. I do get more aggressive in the gym, but I personally would never take it out on a suspect. I'm so mentally prepared to kill anyone that tries to kill me or a citizen, that I've already planned when and in what situations I'd use deadly force. No amount of roids could change that mindset.
T-Cop: I've noticed that I do get pissed off a little faster, but in the end, I'm still the one that decides how I'm going to handle a situation. As far as "too much" force being used, I think it's so ingrained in our minds that even when I'm insanely mad it doesn't cross my mind, ya know?
Law Dawg: I can see your point, but it's never been an issue with me. I did, however, have a hard time coping with my anger when I was taking Halotestin in college. That stuff was an emotional roller coaster for me. I'd never take that on duty, especially in traffic!
I think most cops are responsible when it comes time to use force or not use force. I personally won't draw my piece on anyone unless I intend to use it. I've had to draw my .45 on six occasions since I've been in narcotics and every time I had to use it. Did steroids make me do it? No. Being an officer of the law, the situation dictates my reaction, not steroids.
Chris: How did you first get involved with roids?
Law Dawg: I started my second year in college. I played middle linebacker for a major SEC school in Mississippi. I was having trouble with my speed and trying to cover scatbacks on screens and so forth. My strength coach asked me if I'd ever done steroids and at the time I hadn't. He gave me my first cycle. I don't even know where he got them from; probably supplied by some alumni booster club. SEC alumni take their football serious!
Anyway, my first cycle was cypionate, deca, and halotestin. I improved my 40 by almost a full second and swelled to 245 pounds. I led the defense in tackles my junior year. Most of the team, especially the defense, was on steroids. It was kind of "hush hush," but it was no real secret. I did one cycle each of the three years I started. I was invited to the Houston Oilers mini camp and everybody, and I do mean everybody, was on some sort of enhancement drug. The only difference was, the team wouldn't provide them. That's when I became familiar with sources.
Officer Mongo: For me it was fairly recent. I started to compete in powerlifting meets and I wanted any advantage I could get. Couple that with the current trend with criminals, which is fight the cops, and it made it an easy decision for me. I convinced my doctor that I had a low Testosterone level and without much problem he prescribed me low doses of methyl Test. I wanted more than that, plus everyone knows that the orals aren't great for the liver, so I found a supplier.
T-Cop: A buddy of mine started juicin' and I gave him hell for it all the time. Well, a funny thing happened he started growing like hell and didn't have any side effects when he came off. I started reading about it and decided I'd try a short cycle. It really amazed me that all the rumors I'd heard about roids just weren't true, at least if you're smart about it.
Chris: Would you guys say you're heavy users?
Law Dawg: It depends. Some of the cycles I see in the mags are lighter than what I do, but some are much, much heavier. I stick with the anabolic stuff now. I don't fool with Testosterone any longer; it makes me too big. I've always felt better doing just deca/anavar/primo depot and drugs such as that. I've maintained all my size from earlier cycles so there's no need for me to risk a "heavy" cycle anymore.
Officer Mongo: I guess you could say I'm a low-level user. My average cycle (twelve weeks) consists of 400 mgs of Test cypionate and 200 mgs of methyl Test per week. I clean up after a cycle with HCG, and that's it. I've seen very good gains. You really don't need to be on that high of a cycle to make it work. I saw gains on 200 mgs of propionate a week.
T-Cop: Hmm, my biggest fear has to be that somebody at the gym will get suspicious and make a phone call. So based on that, I try to just gain about five pounds of lean body mass per cycle. I love Winstrol. Right now I'm hitting a five-week cycle of Omnadren cut with Winnie. Basically anything that doesn't fall into the category of "too big, too fast."
Chris: Okay then, let's hear everyone's stats.
Law Dawg: I'm 6' 0", 232 pounds at 8% bodyfat.
Officer Mongo: I am 26 years old, 6'1", 275 pounds. I bench 450 and squat and deadlift around 515 each.
T-Cop: Oh, I'm gonna catch hell for this. I'm 22. Yeah, I'm a FNG (fucking new guy). I'm 5'10", 215 and 10% body fat.
Chris: Let's change perspectives now. Do cops generally care about steroid users? I mean, do they go out looking for the recreational user to bust?
Law Dawg: Not in my area. I checked the other day and we've only had one case involving anabolics in my division and it was before I became a detective. It involved a guy who got pulled over and the dogs went crazy on his car. They searched it and found about $2000 worth of steroids. But that charge was suspended. They prosecuted him on the cocaine instead. That's the only incident I found.
Now, this doesn't mean that you can flaunt it wherever you may be. By all means, be careful and very discrete. Never carry them in your vehicle or gym bag! That's inviting unnecessary risk. I can't speak for the other officers; they may make a stronger effort to catch users.
Officer Mongo: No. I've never seen anyone arrested for steroid use. Not even our narcs go after steroid users. We have way too damn many problems with the other drugs out there to worry about roids.
T-Cop: Most of the time when somebody gets busted with gear it's by accident. Whenever there's a coordinated effort, it's mostly other agencies going after a big dealer. So pretty much if you keep your gear at the house and don't beat your wife, you're safe.
Officer Mongo: Hey, Law Dawg, quick question for you. Do you know if they train dogs to sniff roids? I know it can be done, but I've never heard of anyone doing it.
Law Dawg: No, I don't think so. In the incident I mentioned, the guy had a bunch of cocaine in the car and that's what the dogs picked up on. They just happened to find the steroids first. I did have a trainer tell me that dogs can smell up to 200 times better than humans, so I'm sure they can be trained to do so. I don't like the dogs myself. Two of those bastard dogs we have bite me every time I'm around them! It makes me want to kick the shit out of them!
Chris: If I were busted with a personal amount of juice, what would happen to me?
Law Dawg: That has many factors involved. But if you didn't have a serious criminal record and it was a very small amount (has to be to be considered "personal") and you had a good attorney, probably a fine in the neighborhood of $350 with some community service possible. But what this would mean is you wouldn't want to get caught a second time. Judges won't show much mercy in the South for habitual offenders.
Officer Mongo: Well, it's a felony to be in possession of steroids without a prescription. What would happen to you? Depends on how bored the cop is. He may arrest you or he may send you off with a stern warning. Steroid use is a lot like adultery and sodomy laws (for those states that have them) They're rarely enforced as far as I've seen. But again, I don't work in L.A. either.
T-Cop: I just happen to still have my books from the academy so this is a straight quote:
"Anabolic steroids Schedule 3 (G.S.90-91) If a person knowingly possesses more than or equal to 100 tablets, capsules, or dosage units, the crime is a Class-I felony."
The punishment can be anywhere from 12 to 53 months. Basically, if it was a personal amount you'd be thrown in a room to stew for a bit. Then if it's the DEA or state boys, they'd come in and talk about how much time you're looking at, then about how much less it would be if you gave up your source. That's it in a nutshell. The main thing to keep in mind is the image the public has of gear. Chances are the judge feels the same way, so it's a shot in the dark as to what you'd end up serving.
Chris: Next topic What do you think of teenagers using steroids?
Law Dawg: I'm totally opposed to it. Responsibility just doesn't exist in today's kids. Take a look around at the stunts they're pulling in this country. The sad part about it is if they want them they'll find them with the help of the Internet. There's a fine line between a user and a junkie. I think the earlier you start, the less responsibility you exhibit and you become a junkie doing heavy cycle after heavy cycle. That's the road to disaster.
Officer Mongo: Teens on roids? Bad. Very bad. They're still growing, their long bones haven't matured. Steroids are relatively safe if you're an adult who's fully grown and you use your head while on them.
T-Cop: Teenagers think it's a quick fix. They don't realize or don't care that they're still growing and that it could fuck them up pretty good. It might sound wrong, but I'd probably be a little harder on a teenager to try to scare him off of steroids if I could. But you know how kids are; if they really want to do something they will.
Chris: Do you see steroids as gateway drugs? Do you think a steroid user is likely to use other non-bodybuilding illegal drugs?
Officer Mongo: Not at all. For the most part people who are on the gear are somewhat health-minded individuals and they know the other drugs could really screw them up something fierce. I think that maybe guys on roids might party a little more than your average Joe, but I'm not sure about that either because I don't party. I'm actually a straight arrow don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, except for the occasional roid thing. I guess that could be the topic of another roundtable: "Mormons on Roids." You could bring in me and Larry Scott. (laughing)
T-Cop: For the recreational user? No, I don't think so. Maybe for a powerlifter; I guess stuff like nubain might come into the picture.
Law Dawg: The temptation is definitely there, especially for some of the younger users. Put yourself in their shoes. You go to the beach during the summer, all the chicks are checking you out, you're jacked up on the sauce so you're one of the biggest around, and then you find yourself in a crowd with a good looking babe hanging on each arm and someone passes you a joint. What do you do?
Regardless if you use other illegal drugs or not, situations will occur that may put you in a bad spot. Peer pressure doesn't end at the age of 18! For example, most of the kids I have to arrest tell me they don't do drugs but they were afraid they'd be considered "uncool" by the girls if they didn't. Damn, the things we do for women!
Chris: What recreational drugs really bother you?
Law Dawg: If I could do away with one drug that's dangerous to everyone, it would be cigarettes. I know that sounds funny because people don't think of them as drugs, but have you ever known someone that was addicted to nicotine? Other than that, today's party drugs are running wild in the South. I've arrested over a hundred kids this year alone for Ecstasy.
Officer Mongo: Meth, PCP, and Ecstasy are all drugs I really hate. I've seen so much violence and death caused by these three drugs that I don't have time to mention them in this discussion. Ecstasy is growing huge, as big as meth, and our kids are taking it. It's extremely bad for the body and mind.
T-Cop: What would I like to see wiped out? Damn near everything! Nowadays you got 15 and 16 year old kids going to raves! What the fuck?! When I was that age we might drink some beer and throw rocks at stuff. It's a different world now.
Chris: What about pot?
Law Dawg: I don't think it's as dangerous as cigarettes, but it's still illegal and I'll take someone in if I find it on them. This seems to be a favorite among teenagers, too.
Officer Mongo: I don't like marijuana. I've never touched it, even in high school, and I've never done any recreational drugs, ever! I've seen people go out and drive while doped up on weed and kill other people on the road. As much as people don't want to admit it, a majority (but not all) of marijuana users are lazy, commit other crimes, and eventually fall into harder drugs.
T-Cop: I'm kinda iffy on weed. I know a lot of guys now that might smoke a little weed to mellow out or go to sleep on a cycle. In the big picture, though, I think there are things that need to be taken care of a lot sooner than pot, you know? I'd rather get twenty hits of "X" off the street than a half ounce of weed.
Chris: Back to steroids. Do you worry about failing a drug test being on juice?
Law Dawg: I don't think I'd ever have to take one, but if I had to, yes, I'd be worried.
Officer Mongo: No, most municipalities do random drug tests and I've taken them and passed. They don't check for roids.
T-Cop: Nah, they don't test for it around here. Although I did have a cholesterol test that was all fucked up right after my last cycle.
Chris: What do you guys think of Ronnie Coleman? He was obviously on a lot of gear while he was a cop in Arlington, Texas.
Law Dawg: I think he's amazing. I look at him and say to myself, "How?" Even on drugs, and lots of them, how does a man get that big? He probably got questioned more than I ever will. But, if he did drugs that heavy for financial reasons, it obviously paid off.
Officer Mongo: Ronnie Coleman was a drug abuser. I mean, anyone who takes that much, c'mon, give me a break! It's like the difference in a weekend drinker and an alcoholic. I think, no, I know, that his department knew he was on the juice, but I'm sure they overlooked it so that they could have a celebrity on their force. Besides, he'd make one hell of a door breacher on a SWAT team!
T-Cop: He was definitely gifted. I think that you'd be crazy not to think that everybody he worked with, including the Chief of Police, knew about his steroid use.
Chris: There's an attitude that cops (among other professionals) have to be "more moral" than the average citizen. I know I used to be a public school teacher and was told not to have a beer at a restaurant because I'd be setting a bad example if a student saw me. As cops, do you run into that?
Officer Mongo: Yes, at least I do, and rightfully so, I think. We're professional law enforcers and as such we probably should conduct ourselves in a manner that doesn't discredit our profession. When I'm driving I try not to speed well, too much anyway.
Sometimes I think it goes too far, though. One time I was on vacation and staying in a campground. Somehow the manager of the campground found out I was a cop and on the last day I was to stay there, some dude went speeding through her campground tearing the road up and everything. The manger came up to me and wanted me to do something about it and I told her politely to go call the local PD. She began to yell and scream at me and almost became violent, so I told her to "Get out of my face, you fat bitch," and she called my chief and tried to file a complaint against me, for something that she instigated while I was off duty. Man, citizens!
T-Cop: I don't know about "more moral" so to speak, but if I had to give it a name it would be "beyond reproach." You wanna' present yourself in a way that doesn't give anybody a chance to say something about you. I've also found that a lot of times a child's attitude towards law enforcement is a strong reflection of their parents attitude towards law enforcement.
Law Dawg: Kind of. It's like your previous question about being a cop and being on steroids. People talk, but you can't let it bother you. That's why I'm totally discrete about it. I don't flaunt my size, I don't help people obtain any juice, I don't advocate or suggest it to anyone and I practice only the safest manners while I'm on them. I don't consider steroids as a drug that will cause harm to anyone else besides me. So, in a way, that keeps me from feeling like a hypocrite.
Chris: So is the message here "some drugs are okay, but some aren't"? Can we really tell people that drugs are bad and will kill you, because let's face it, many won't?
Law Dawg: I see your point. I've often wondered why steroids are illegal. I think they became more dangerous when they were made illegal because now users have to resort to veterinary grade and black market drugs. Any drug can be dangerous when abused, whether legal or not, and steroids are no exception.
Officer Mongo: Of course some drugs are okay and some are not. Cough syrup is a drug and it's okay as long as it's used properly. Are most recreational drugs okay? No. They're the cause of a tremendous amount of suffering and death; they're abused way too much. No, we can't tell our kids that all people who take drugs will die, but we do need to educate ourselves and our children on the effects of drugs.
T-Cop: I know what I'm doing is wrong but I gotta' enforce the law. I think when it comes down to it, gear is right up there with weed in the "things that can wait" department. Can you honestly say roids and crack are in the same category? You ever sucked dick for roids? Didn't think so.
Chris: What changes would you guys like to see in American steroid laws?
Law Dawg: I'd like to see it easier to get a prescription for them. As long as the medical community frowns upon steroids, there'll always be laws that we have to outwit in order to use them.
T-Cop: I'm not going make any friends here, but I think they should always be under some kind of restriction. There's just too many people that would go nuts and harm themselves if they had almost unlimited access to them. Hell, I probably would.
Officer Mongo: We need doctors who are willing to educate themselves on steroids and then be able to have the authority to prescribe them to people legally. It drives me nuts that a woman who wishes to become a man can go to a plastic surgeon, get a plaster penis put on and be prescribed steroids and other androgens to become a man, but when a man wants to become a bigger, stronger man, he's screwed! The laws definitely need to be changed.
Chris: Thanks for your time and candor, guys.