Four members of the Norman, Ok., Police Department fired last fall after being accused of using or selling bodybuilding steroids, says the Associated Press. Officers in Mississippi, Ohio, Connecticut, Hawaii, Colorado, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, and New York have also been accused of steroid-related offenses in recent years. Steroids are attractive to some officers who know that an intimidating physique can ward off conflict or give them the upper hand in a life-or-death struggle. Said Gene Sanders, a former police officer who has worked as a psychologist for several law enforement agencies in California, “There is sort of an underground, unspoken tradition among several departments that I’ve worked with that if you really want to bulk up, this is the best way to do it.”
Steroids also can lead to various diseases as well as uncontrolled aggression, or “roid rage,” which can be especially dangerous in a law officer. “These substances can cause depression and despondency, and here is a person who has a weapon,” said Dr. Linn Goldberg of Oregon Health & Science University’s Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine.