SLPD officers bring home athletic awards
By Joe Southern
Don’t look for these cops at local donut shops. They’re more likely to be found on jogging paths when they’re not in uniform serving and protecting.
Four members of the Sugar Land Police Department have been competing in Olympic-style games for several years between police and firefighters and recently came back from a world competition weighed down with medals.
Lt. David White, Sgt. Richard Rivera and Bailiff Melvin Caesar competed in the World Police and Fire Games in Los Angeles in August, bringing home seven medals. Along with Detective Billy Baugh, the officers have been bringing home bundles of bling from state, national and world games for years. Baugh, who has competed in golf for 29 years, did not play at the world games this year.
In Los Angeles, White, 41, brought home a silver medal in push-pull (power lifting) in the 40-44 age division under 231 pounds. He did a bench press of 325 pounds and a deadlift of 600 pounds.
Caesar, 42, brought home three silvers in the 40-44 age division, one each in long jump, javelin, and 400-meter hurdles.
“My hamstring got me in the finals of the 100,” he said.
Rivera, 52, competed in the 50-54 age division, bringing home a gold in the half marathon, silver in the 400 meters and a bronze in the 1500 meters. He actually placed fourth in the half marathon but was part of a four-man team that took first.
Baugh, 58, did not compete in the world games this year but has been competing in police and fire games since 1988 and has accumulated numerous medals in that time.
White began competing at the Texas games in 2009. Caesar started the next year and Rivera got going in 2013.
The World Police and Fire Games are an Olympic-style competition with 10,000 athletes representing law enforcement, firefighters, and officers from corrections, probation, border protection, immigration and customs from 70 countries across the world competing in 60 sports. The event is held every other year and the next games will be in China in 2019.
The U.S. Police and Fire Championships are held annually in San Diego, Calif., and the Texas Police Games are held each year in different locations across the state. Next year’s games are in Fort Worth.
The Sugar Land officers said they enjoy the competitions and benefit from being fit from training.
“It’s a friendly competition … we all get along and we encourage one another,” White said.
“You get to meet a lot of people from different agencies,” Baugh said.
“You get to meet a lot of people from everywhere,” Caesar added. Rivera said that even though the competition is friendly and filled with camaraderie, there are some who take it very seriously.
“The Russians and Germans, they work for the government, so their governments sponsor them,” he said.
Each of the Sugar Land officers pays their own way and uses their own vacation time to compete.
“We spend our own money and donate our time, but it’s our choice if we want to do this,” White said.
And they want to do it. Rivera is already training for the Houston Marathon and Caesar has his sights set on a track and field event in San Marcos.