Belleville

Belleville officers have a new way to help catch suspects

Belleville Police have a new exercise room

Belleville Police Department's new headquarters has an exercise room, with equipment paid for through a donation from the police union. Proceeds from drug-related seizures also helped pay for the equipment.
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Belleville Police Department's new headquarters has an exercise room, with equipment paid for through a donation from the police union. Proceeds from drug-related seizures also helped pay for the equipment.

The first 40 to 45 seconds of a struggle between a police officer and a suspect are the most critical time because that’s when a person’s adrenalin is really flowing.

“If you don’t have the endurance, if you lack the endurance … to sustain any kind of resistance, that could hurt you in that type of situation,” said Belleville Police Capt. John Moody.

So in an effort to assist the city’s officers in dealing with unruly suspects and to help prevent injuries, the department has installed a room full of fitness equipment in the new police department headquarters at 720 W. Main St.

To pay for the equipment worth about $39,000, the department received a $19,000 donation from the local chapter of the Police Benevolent and Protective Association lodge and about $20,000 from the drug asset forfeiture fund.

I guess you could say the drug dealers are paying for a chunk of this.

Police Chief Bill Clay

“Really what’s exceptional about this is how we came about it,” Chief Bill Clay said. “We used no taxpayers’ money. This was done all through contributions through the Police Benevolent Association and drug asset forfeiture money.

“I guess you could say the drug dealers are paying for a chunk of this,” Clay said.

A series of weight-lifting machines targets all parts of the body. There also is equipment to give officers an aerobic workout. A punching bag is in a separate room where self-defense training is conducted.

The exercise equipment is open to officers and civilian employees of the police department. The department’s locker rooms are adjacent to the gym, where you have a good view of Richland Creek while pumping iron.

Clay said the exercise equipment could possibly cut down on the amount of workers’ compensation cases filed by officers.

Also, the workout room gives officers a chance to build camaraderie and talk about events of the day, he said.

“It’s a morale booster,” Clay said.

If you don’t have the endurance, if you lack the endurance … to sustain any kind of resistance, that could hurt you in that type of situation.

Capt. John Moody

Moody noted that only off-duty officers are allowed to use the equipment. And since the equipment was installed in January, he has seen more officers around the building.

Clay said the police department receives the drug seizure money based on a government formula and the amount of manpower the department assigns to cooperative drug interdiction efforts. He said the money has to benefit police officers and it cannot supplant money already budgeted for the department by the city.

Here are some of the other items the department has purchased with drug seizure money: two Can-Am Spyder motorcycles; a prisoner transport van; patrol cars; a pickup truck for traffic enforcement; a portable truck scale, which is loaded onto the pickup truck so it can be used on streets around town; radios; cameras; and new uniform patches.

The Police Benevolent and Protective Association is open to all officers of the department and has about 40 members. Department leaders such as Clay can join this group, which is separate from the local union of the Fraternal Order of Police. Clay and other non-union officers are not part of Fraternal Order of Police.

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