• From the Field with Ron Sheppard
    Ron Sheppard is the Sergeant of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Tactical Enforcement Unit. He has been a police officer for 23 years and has been a SWAT Operator for over 15 years.
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  • From the Field BannerFrom the Field | Ronald Sheppard
    Ron Sheppard
    Ron Sheppard is currently the Sergeant of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Tactical Enforcement Unit. He has been a police officer for 23 years and has been a SWAT Operator for over 15 years.

    1. What tactical population are you a part of and how long have you been serving?
    I am a member of the Colorado Springs Police Department SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team. I have 15 years of tactical experience.

    2. Please describe the physical demands of your job and the role physical fitness plays in your profession.
    There are a lot of physical aspects to the job such as running, jumping, and climbing over fences and onto different things. We wear about 40-50 lb of gear while performing some of these activities. Having a strong core and being in good condition all-around are imperative to perform the job and remain deployable.

    3. Please describe your personal path regarding maintaining physical fitness during your career.
    I started lifting weights in the late 80s and went for many years doing the typical strength training that the average person does in the gym with some cardio (distance running) also. I was strong in the weight room but later started to develop injuries to my shoulders, knees, etc. I have been a member of the NSCA for several years now and am a part of the TSAC program. I may not be able to bench as much as I did before, but I can honestly say that I feel much better about my overall fitness level.

    4. What is your opinion of the current state of strength and conditioning in your profession?
    As far as the tactical team goes, very good as a result of the TSAC program. As a member of the police society, I think we have a long way to go. Fitness is starting to become a point of emphasis again but there is some resistance because there have not been any standards for a long time.

    5. What do you feel needs to be done (if anything) to improve physical fitness within your profession?
    I think the mindset of the officers has to change. Officers need to understand the overall benefits of being in good physical condition. This seems like it would be obvious based on the work we do, but there are a lot of officers that are of the opinion, for example, that there is no reason to chase someone when you have a perfectly good working car. They are being somewhat sarcastic of course, but that is actually the mentality a lot of times. They feel that they are in good enough shape to do the job, instead of having a mindset that they want to be in the best shape they can be in to do the job.

    6. What are some of the challenges you face in maintaining your physical fitness?
    I think the biggest challenge for officers in general, and I would fall into this category at times myself, is diet. You do not get the opportunity to eat as healthy as you would like all of the time. Even if a person brings their own meal, you can be held over for several hours at a time or have other factors play into your eating routine that you would not necessarily choose otherwise.

    7. What motivates you to maintain a high level of fitness?
    I feel good about myself in general when I am working out. Although I hate it at times when I am doing some workouts, there is a feeling of accomplishment when you complete something that you know was challenging. The other motivating factor is that I know that others work out, including those we may chase, arrest, fight, etc. If they are going to be in shape, then we better be also.

    8. What do you believe are the top three physical requirements for your population that must be addressed in a proper TSAC program?
    The top three requirements are: core strength, conditioning, and education on the benefits of fitness, which all will lead into how to best accomplish one’s goals.

    9. Please describe a time that maintaining a high level of fitness assisted you in your profession.
    Every day, this profession is one where you never know the day or the call when someone will attempt to take your life from you. So every day is a time when being fit has assisted me.

    10. What advice would you give to strength and conditioning coach who was interested in working with your population?
    Get ready for some resistance, especially with the more veteran population. You will have to win them over by being persistent and positive in the face of negativity and sarcasm.
  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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