Fit for Duty

An Ohio State University Police Division (OSUPD) officer isn’t just running races, he’s running a movement. With each step, he’s spreading awareness about the importance of police officer physical health. 

“The community we serve deserves and expects us to be physically able to help them in their moment of need,” said Officer Randy Petit. “I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I was unable to help someone because I was physically unfit to aid them.” 

In a gesture of his commitment, Petit ran the Ohio State 4 Miler in full police tactical gear. While the gear all together weighs about 35 pounds, Petit said it was more about the shifting of the gear that made the run a challenge. “It’s different running in boots, a helmet, gun on my hip and shifting gear on my chest. By mile three I was very hot from having pants and a long sleeve shirt on and when the wind picked up, the flag I was carrying felt like a windsock.” 

Petit’s act is underscored by a troubling in a Wall Street Journal report that said more than 40% of police officers, firefighters and security officers are obese. 

“We endure significant stress due to the incidents we see and are involved in. The more physically fit an officer is, the better equipped their body is to handle the unrelenting loads of stress pressed upon them. I want every officer to be able to see their grandkids grow. I want them to see the value in being prepared physically for anything this job throws at them.”

Petit says the experience overall was harder than he thought, despite his training leading up to the run. 

“What got me through the moments of pain was the overwhelming support I received from pedestrians and fellow runners. I was prideful they were so supportive and encouraging of me as a representative of law enforcement.”