Epidemic of illegal steroid use by cops.. leading to rage and murder.


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jsalcedo
May 25, 2005, 01:23 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/US/story?id=775659&page=1


May 24, 2005 Amid the furor over steroid use by superstar athletes like baseball's Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi, another story is quietly unfolding in small towns and big cities across America cops on steroids.

From New York City to Norman, Okla., police departments are investigating a growing number of incidents involving uniformed police officers who are using steroids to build beefy, muscular physiques.


Police departments are concerned because it is illegal in the United States to possess steroids without a prescription. They are listed by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule III substance, like morphine, opium, barbiturates and other prescription drugs.

But there is an even greater problem: violent, aggressive behavior, a common side effect of steroids, can contribute to police brutality even murder.

When Police Commit Murder

James Batsel IV was a police officer in Riverdale, a suburb of Atlanta. In 1993, he joined a group of police officers who, in addition to bulking up on steroids, burglarized stores and nightclubs in the Atlanta area.

During one of those burglaries, Batsel shot and killed a nightclub owner. In his defense, Batsel blamed the murder on the steroids he was using.

Batsel, now serving a life sentence for murder at Hays State Prison in Georgia, refused an interview request from ABCNews.com. But his father, James Batsel III, said, "The police force that he was on was rampant with it."

Maj. Greg Barney of the Riverdale Police Department declined to offer comment on the 12-year-old incident.

Batsel also described the effect steroids had on his son's disposition, causing him to fly into a violent rage for no reason. This side effect of steroids is known as "'roid rage."

"He had a temper you would not believe," Batsel's father said. "He had a dog that he just loved and he took that dog out and shot it."

Nationwide Epidemic of Abuse

Batsel's use of steroids is not a rare case. In precinct houses and sheriff's departments nationwide, officers are being investigated, disciplined, discharged or arrested for possessing or using steroids:

Michael Tweedy, a former police officer in Petersburg, Va., was sentenced in April for repeatedly stomping a man in the head while he lay on the ground choking on his own blood. In court testimony, steroid use was cited as a contributing factor to his violent behavior.

Thomas Lahey, a third-generation police sergeant in Denver, was charged in 2003 with possession of steroids. In addition to steroids, his home also contained syringes, a steroid-use schedule and 15 guns. The case was eventually dismissed.

Matthew Campbell, a former police officer in Tampa, pleaded guilty to trading Ecstasy tablets stolen from an impounded car for steroids. The exchange took place in 2000 while Campbell and a fellow officer were in uniform and on duty.

Two police officers in Tampa are under investigation as customers of a man arrested for selling steroids. The case is still under review by the police department.

Four police officers in the New York City area lost their jobs after being investigated for possession of steroids and cocaine in 2002. Two of the officers pleaded guilty; the other two cases are still pending.

Eight sheriff's deputies in Broward County, Fla., are currently under investigation after their names appeared on the customer list of a local company charged with distributing steroids.

Robert Cissna, a police officer in Burlingame, Calif., pleaded no contest to possession of steroids in 2002. He has since been reinstated as a police officer.

The full extent of the problem remains unknown most police officers and department spokespersons are reluctant to discuss any internal affairs involving police officers using steroids or other drugs.


Aggressive Behavior and Loaded Guns

There is a scientific explanation for the violent behavior exhibited by steroid abusers, says Linn Goldberg, a professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University and an expert on steroid abuse.

"Your dopamine receptors are changed," he said, referring to the chemical in the brain that transmit nerve signals. "They help guard against a lack of impulse control."

Steroid abusers lack the same level of control that non-users have. "They have uncontrolled aggressive feelings. Their judgment is impaired," Goldberg said.

The problem with steroids is that they make you feel you are invulnerable, so you become more aggressive and you're more likely to use aggression as well," he added.

Other side effects of steroid abuse include depression, mania, suicide risks, erratic mood swings, shrunken testicles, cancerous tumors, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and stunted growth.

But the fact that violent mood swings can occur among police officers who carry a gun concerns many, including Goldberg. "It's very scary to me," he said.

Fear Factor and the Police

Gene Sanders, a police psychologist in Spokane, Wash., has worked extensively with police officers who are steroid abusers. "If I were going to be conservative, I'd say that probably 5 percent of everyone who walks in my door either is using or has used steroids," he said.

"This is getting to be a major problem," Sanders said.

"As a police psychologist, I can understand why it happens it's essentially a fear issue," said Sanders.

"And having been a sniper on a SWAT team, I can understand that level of fear," he said.

'When I Started to Use Anabolic Steroids'

It was fear that prompted rookie officer Chris Holden to begin using steroids.

Shortly after joining the police force in Norman, Okla., an Oklahoma highway patrolman was shot and killed. The slaying occurred during a fight in which the killer wrestled the patrolman's gun away from him.

"I wanted to do everything I could to prevent this from happening to me," Holden stated in a letter he published in a local newspaper. "At the end of March 2004 I was a police officer patrolling the streets solo, and that is when I started to use anabolic steroids."

An investigation into steroid abuse, led by the DEA, netted Holden, three other Norman police officers, and a state highway patrolman. All five lost their jobs following the investigation.

Holden failed to return several calls requesting an interview, and many of Holden's former colleagues have taken a dim view of his actions.

"One interesting effect of him writing that letter is he alienated the entire department when he wrote that letter," said Lt. Tom Easley, spokesman for the Norman Police Dept.

"Most of these guys and women who are out there on the force took his letter as evidence of cowardice and some kind of inadequacy in himself," Easley said.

"When you have 130 authorized police officers and you lose four of them, it hurts from a manpower standpoint and it hurts from a morale standpoint," said Easley.

But like many other police spokespeople around the country, Easley acknowledges that a handful of arrests will not end the nationwide problem of steroid abuse by cops.

Referring to the four Norman police officers who lost their jobs, he said, "It's not an isolated incident."

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Iain
May 25, 2005, 01:47 PM
There is as much nonsense talked about steroids as there is about pot.

In the article that is linked to on that abc page entitled 'Scientists explore the risks posed by steroids' there is the following:

"Did the benign tumor he developed — reportedly a pituitary growth — arise from a female fertility drug called clomiphene (Clomid) he reportedly told the grand jury he took to bulk up?"

Now two minutes of research should have told our journalist friend that clomid is used as post-cycle therapy as an anti-estrogen. It might be a subtle difference, but like articles on guns that discuss 38mm handguns, the lack of research really grates.

So does the 'it wasn't me that killed him yer 'onor, it was them there steroids.'

(A note for the curious, I do a certain amount of weightlifting, and you can't read about it on the net without picking up a certain amount of, as yet useless to me, knowledge.)

CAS700850
May 25, 2005, 02:37 PM
Uh, I don't know about the cops where you are, but most of the one's I know are either on the thin side (runners), somewhat athletic looking (the SWAT guys), or much like me, carrying protective padding around the mid-section. I've yet to see a cop who makes me think "steroids."

captain obvious
May 25, 2005, 03:03 PM
Morgantown cops are too joyful and easygoing to be on steroids (I mean that).

I do remember seeing some definate cases of roid rage from Fairfax County cops when I was in high school, though....

MechAg94
May 25, 2005, 03:04 PM
You should still be responsible for your actions regardless.

The_Antibubba
May 25, 2005, 03:21 PM
It's unfair to call this just a police issue-steroids are everywhere.

Colt46
May 25, 2005, 04:40 PM
is extremely vain and into body building(she calls it sculpting). She has exhibited signs of going off the deep end. Her voice is deeper and she is quite muscular for a 5'3" asian gal. She left SJPD for greener pastures in Palo Alto PD and burned enough bridges to want to come back. They said sure. If she submitted to a drug screening. She refused and is still with Palo Alto.

I get this from my brother(SJPD) who cannot be considered unbiased as she walked out on him and two children when she went haywire.

Flyboy
May 25, 2005, 05:03 PM
Ahhhh...there's nothing quite like seeing your hometown mentioned in a national news story. Especially when you're not a major city.

fjolnirsson
May 25, 2005, 07:28 PM
I've yet to see a cop who makes me think "steroids."

Spend a little time in the Bay Area.
Lots of 'em.

FRIENDLY
May 25, 2005, 07:30 PM
I do not see what the great surprise is- police officers are of the community from the community and are prone to all the problems the community have.The great danger is when they for whatever reason are divided from the community.

Standing Wolf
May 25, 2005, 07:49 PM
...like articles on guns that discuss 38mm handguns, the lack of research really grates.

You were expecting journalism?

Iain
May 25, 2005, 08:06 PM
Yes, I did point out the bleeding obvious didn't I.

'Roid rage' - I have spoken to several that have 'used'. Generally they say it is like alcohol - it only brings out what is already there.

I'm surprised that the article didn't claim that use of anabolics by cops was 'cheating'. Everybody else that uses them is a 'cheat' apparently, even if they compete in non-tested feds and the suchlike.

On the subject of guys not looking like they use - unless you have a pretty good approach to your diet and your training, and you get hold of the real stuff, you may find that using the roids does little for you.

I guess what I am saying is - if you don't buy the line on pot, don't buy it on steroids either, it's not the clear case of roid raging, early death that it is made out to be.

Ronnie Coleman was a cop until just a few years ago.

Art Eatman
May 25, 2005, 08:53 PM
Hmmm. First time I'd run across this.

Haven't seen any of the referenced "roid rage" behavior, but I've noticed LEOs that struck me as "different" insofar as physical build. Greater overall muscularity, on up to the "no-neck monster" shape.

I'd casually noticed it a bit in some of--but nowhere near all--the LEOs in my wife's hometown of Thomasville, GA. I really, really noticed it in a couple of LEOs at a motel cafe in Raton, NM, last September. Not only the body-builder appearance, but one LEO was shaven-headed and the other had some sort of strange hair style I had never seen before. Definitely an intimidating appearance for the both of them.

Learn sumpn new every day...

Art

Warren
May 25, 2005, 09:45 PM
Is it these guys went into police work and introduced to steroids or is it that a lot of these guys are ex-football linemen who have carried steroid use over into their job and introduced it to others?

slzy
May 25, 2005, 10:00 PM
obviously a lot of professional wrestlers take steroids. ever now and then they must get hit harder than the choreography called for.are their any incidents of these guys losing it in the course of the act and having to be restrained?

Orthonym
May 26, 2005, 05:48 AM
like that. Fortunately, another officer, kinda human-like, with enough hair that he prolly owned a comb, showed up and got all rational and legal on the chain dog.

The rational, legal, cop prolly improved my public behavior more than the scary skinhead-thug cop. He appealed to reason and justice, the skinhead thug cop (to my way of thinking) was like, "You shot me the finger because I was about to run a red light in my cop car? Well, I'll lie to your face to make up an excuse to run you in!"

N.B. I didn't know that that jerk was driving a cop car when I shot him the finger. I was just upset that he seemed like so many around here, oblivious to traffic signals, which behavior could have gotten me killed.

roo_ster
May 26, 2005, 09:17 AM
I've known steroid users* in high school athletics (football, wrestling, weight lifting), the Army, as well as some cops.

I'd put steroid use in the same category as pot use: not something I would do, but not something worth chucking the lunkhead in jail.

FWIW, I have been accused of steroid use in the past, usually by semi-informed/mis-informed folks. I have been able to get my 6' self to a 300lbs, 10% bodyfat powerlifter-type build as well as a 250lb small% bodyfat bodybuilder-type build without juicing (while in college with the time to lift/diet correctly). My body was pretty much at its limit and I could not maintain those size/strength/lean-to-fat-ratios for very long. I suspect I could have done better with pharmeceutical supplementation (juice, HGH, whatever) if I had desired to do so.

One last comment: as one's lean/fat ratio improves, more testosterone is produced. I have definitely felt the effects when at my leanest/meanest, both physically and tempermentally. "Roid rage" is much overhyped, but an increase in aggessiveness is to be expected with the increase of such substances in the body (naturally occurring or supplemented).

* Admitted & those who exhibit enough symptoms to make me wanna bet money on it

DFBonnett
May 26, 2005, 05:26 PM
It is my understanding that the use of steroids is rather common among the younger members of the NJ State Police. What people choose to do is largely their own business until you give them a badge, gun, and a presumption of rectitude. Then steroid use and it's implications become problematical.

spartacus2002
May 27, 2005, 05:41 PM
I've met a couple of huge, no-neck, musclebound cops.

They were very calm and polite and spoke quietly. Amazingly, as soon as they entered a room, so did everyone around them :D

(note: the above is poking fun at the "large-muscled policeman = steroid and roid rage" stereotype)

mitchshrader
June 2, 2005, 12:55 PM
I've had the opinion some years, that those who risk their lives for their society (country, state, township) shouldn't pay taxes, and should be held to the HIGHEST standards of behaviour. Extra duty, extra priviliges, extra penalties for abuse of same. It might be a little simplistic, but those who act honorably should be honored, and those who dishonor their oaths should be punished severely and with minimal acknowledgment of previous service. Dunno how that'd sit with the folks I'm talking about, but a sleazeball with a badge bothers ME a lot worse'n a sleazeball without one. Likewise I'd rather let a cop get free healthcare & insurance, pay no taxes, than give him ANY reason to take a fast bribe to look away from crime. Human nature tends to protect what's most valued. .. sez me..

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