Too Much Testosterone Already

Police - show of forceHave you ever wondered about the rise in police brutality in the past few decades? Believe it or not, steroids might be to blame.

Several recent investigations have found that steroid use is prevalent among many law enforcement agencies. When The Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ investigated the issue, they found that 248 police officers and 53 firefighters had received steroids from an area physician.

So why are police officers using steroids? Few professions will involve dealing with armed and dangerous people on a daily basis. Bulking up may be a way to feel more in control and powerful over criminals such as drug dealers, gang members, and violent con artists. This article from ABC News talks with a former police officer who discusses how prevalent steroids were in his department and how he took them to have “an edge” on criminals. The pressure to reach peak strength and fitness rivals within the profession likely rivals what many professional sports players face.

It doesn’t help that many departments aren’t doing much to discourage steroid used. While random testing for drugs like cocaine and marijuana may be common, such tests rarely include steroids. Officers have very few hurdles keeping them from using steroids in an effort to be stronger. But the use of such steroids can have some very negative effects on the community these officers are supposed to protect.

The worst effect by far is the use of brutality against the public while on duty. A common side effect of steroids is known as ‘roid rage,’ or aggression due to extra amounts of testosterone in the body. A number of police brutality cases around the U.S. have possible links to steroid use. One officer in Sound Bend, IN, who had been previously arrested because of assault, was caught and sentenced to jail for dealing steroids (AOL News).

But many cases of steroid use among law enforcement officials continue to be hidden. For example, an 84-year-old man in Florida was thrown to the ground by a police officer and had his neck broken as a result. When his lawyer requested the officer’s department to test him for steroids, the department refused to do so because it violated the officer’s rights under his union.

This system needs to change. Law enforcement departments need to recognize the use of steroids among their employees as a legitimate problem. Two new reforms in New Jersey are leading the way in legislation aimed at targeting the issue. One reform requires departments to randomly test for steroids, and another requires officers who fill prescriptions for steroids to undergo fitness evaluations ( But this is a far cry from the legislative reforms that need to be made in order for justice to be served.


Photo: licensed by on - © Brandon Laufenberg

Jesse Harwell

Jesse Harwell is a retired police detective who now owns and manages the site Master of Homeland Security. It is a resource for students looking to earn a Master's Degree in Homeland Security.  

  1. It occurred to me today that our instinct-driven legislators keep passing onerous legislation because it’s the thing to do.  Making laws is their job and besides, since they themselves never bother to follow laws, they really don’t expect the ones they pass to be enforced.  Indeed, it may be that there’s a general sense that “no-one expects.”  Not only could no-one expect the terrorists attack, but expectation is not part of the Randian agenda.  Perhaps they even preempt so they don’t have to expect.
    You see how that works?  People keep telling them what to do (because they do nothing on their own hook), so they turn around and, like parrots, tell others what to do.  But, it means nothing.  They don’t expect there to be any consequence.  If there is, it’s magic (or Democrats getting done what they claim to want).

  2. Cmon….I hate cops but they have to use them cause think about it. Can u take on a huge guy on pcp when ur jus natural. Ya good luck. Guns are there but when it goes hand to hand a pcp or intoxicated person will always be stronger than a non steroid using cop unless the cop is a expert martial artist who strength trains at least 5x a week. Even though that should be what cops do. But with nowadays economy who has that kinda free time to train and prepare. Don’t. Bust but always hold ’em accountable for their egotistical f**k ups.

  3. This is wrong no one that takes an oath to serve and protect should be able to do so under the negative influence of steroids. Our system does not say that these peace officer take an oath to take steroids at all. Steroids are drugs and they have to be prescribed by a doctor in Canada. I am pretty confident in saying that Peace officer are not allowed to take drugs. They are illegal in the US and anyone competing in sports are prohibited from using them. So how is it possible for our peace officers to use them??????? That is some fucked up shit right there!

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