Tulsa Police Sergeant Hopes To Make Force Healthier In Body And Mind
TULSA, Oklahoma - Law enforcement officers can often find themselves in dangerous situations, but day-to-day they also face stresses and lead lifestyles that put them at risk.
Because of the stress, crazy hours, lack of sleep and generally poor eating and exercise habits, the life expectancy for an officer in Oklahoma is only 66 years.
One police sergeant said he wants to change that.
Tulsa Sergeant Mark Sherwood said, just like many people are in financial debt and don't know how to get out, many people are in wellness debt, not taking care of themselves spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically—and it's costing them their lives.
A former bodybuilder, Sherwood is known for his unusual feats of strength. He tears apart phone books and breaks bricks as a way to draw attention to his message.
He's created a business called 4E that focuses on the four aspects of fitness: Spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical.
He said all four are equally important, although often neglected.
"A wheel has all four parts. You take one piece out of that, like a pie, the wheel will run for awhile, but eventually, everything will fall apart because you're out of balance," Sherwood said.
Sherwood takes his message to children, corporations and law enforcement agencies all over the world.
He said officers are especially at high risk, because of the nature of their jobs, and he sees the effects of not taking care of your whole self every day.
"It breaks my heart to see police officers, the men and women I've worked with for two decades, struggling," Sherwood said. "They come into the police department in the best physical and emotional shape of their lives and leave in the worst physical and emotional shape. They don't last very long and we need to do something about it."
Sherwood's message of treating the whole person really hit home with Detective Scott Murphy.
Murphy knows stress. He's worked crimes against children and is a crisis negotiator. He said he'd had shoulder surgery, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, gallbladder issues, and knew he had to make a change as he hit 40.
Now, after four months on Sherwood's plan, Murphy is 25 pounds lighter, in less pain and is healthier, overall.
"I feel better physically, emotionally, I have more energy. I feel better all-around now," Murphy said.
Sherwood's message is that only by taking time to make sure we are fully fit, can we properly take care of those in our lives and perform at our best professionally.