With help from a $10,000 grant from AT&T of Colorado, the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Foundation will be improving the fitness of officers from multiple agencies throughout the state, including the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
A great deal of the money will go to the Law Fit Program to fund the training of instructors from the 64 state, federal and local agencies that make up the foundation. The nationally used program is designed to teach how to screen applicant peace officers as well as to help keep veterans in better physical and mental condition.
The program was developed in 1989 by George Mason University professor of health David L. Bever in response to a growing concern for the high number of disabling injuries suffered by law enforcement in Virginia. Since its inception, according to the Law Fit website, those involved with the program have reported both a reduction in injuries and workers’ compensation claims as well as an increase in officer fitness levels.
“Unless law enforcement agencies are willing to place sufficient emphasis on developing and maintaining fitness levels which allow their personnel to perform effectively in high-stress situations, they will be faced with ongoing disability claims from officers in less-than-optimal condition who are injured in the line of duty,” the site states. “Additionally, these agencies will be vulnerable to lawsuits when their less-fit personnel are unable to perform their policing duties in a manner that protects the safety and welfare of the general public.”
The program puts together a number of fitness goals and tests for participating officers that help to build strength, endurance and increase flexibility.
“Without the grant, the agency would have had to pay to host or send instructors to a Law Fit class,” said Sgt. Ron Hanavan, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “Tuition will be free to any of the 64 participating agencies that are members of the HRLETF.”
In addition to two Law Fit courses that will be hosted at dates to be determined at the Highlands Ranch facility off Santa Fe Drive, Hanavan said money will be used to buy new workout equipment and improve the outdoor obstacle course that is on site.
Founding HRLETF board member and former Douglas County Sheriff Steve Zotos will manage the grant. Current foundation board members include Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver, Undersheriff Tony Spurlock and Bureau Chief Holly Kluth.