Officer Glenn Bedford of the LAPD wearies of seeing television shows and movies in which police officers sit around drinking coffee and eating doughnuts before running off to answer an emergency call for help.
"I don't eat doughnuts," Bedford said. "I can't even look at them without putting on weight."
Bedford, who is assigned to juvenile cases for the Devonshire Division, was one of more than 5,500 police officers and firefighters from 20 countries who competed in the World Police and Fire Games in San Diego last month. The seven-day competition is designed to promote fitness among peace officers.
The games consist of 47 events, ranging from archery to wrestling. It is the second largest multi-sport competition in the world--the Olympics being the largest--according to Steve Stigall, president of the California Police Athletic Federation and coordinator of the event.
Active and retired police officers and firefighters from as far as Australia and New Zealand and from throughout the United States competed in the biennial event. The competition is divided into four age categories, beginning with open (21-29) and ending with golden masters (50 and above).
Bedford, 36, competed in four senior events and swam away with three medals. He teamed with Randy Bowman of Operations Valley Bureau and Gene Arreola of Hollenbeck Division to win a gold medal in the team triathlon competition.
"It was great," said Bedford, who practices five to six days a week at Cal State Northridge. "I acted like a kid when we won. Gene dedicated the victory to my mom, who was undergoing a pancreas and gall bladder operation that same day.
"Before the race, my mind was going in two different directions," he continued. "Gene patted me on the back and said 'don't worry, she pull through and we'll win the race for her.' "
Bedford also won a silver medal in the 100-yard individual medley and a bronze medal in the 200 freestyle relay during the games.
"There were no slouches competing," Bedford said. "There were a couple of guys who had won Olympic medals in swimming and several former collegiate All-Americans."
Bedford began swimming competitively at Van Nuys High and set five school records before graduating in 1969. Despite being offered scholarships to some top collegiate swimming programs, Bedford elected to stay at home and attend Valley College. He qualified as a junior college All-American in his first season, then helped lead the Monarchs to the state championship the following year.
In addition to Bedford, four other members of the Devonshire Division won medals at the games. Stephanie Lazarus, 27, won a gold medal in the 1,600-meter relay and silver medals in the 400 relay and women's basketball. Andy Cordova, 42, won a team gold medal in golf, Dave Herrick, 41, earned a bronze in the four-man trap and skeet competition and Bob Vanina, 35, won a bronze in racquetball mixed doubles.