Lt. Col. Jeffery Hart is the Assistant Chief of Police in Morganfield Kentucky, he is a successful cop and he is a lucky man. I came across Jeff’s story when I was researching the heart defect that took the life of Colorado Police Officer Nick Heine. See our blog on “Are You Planning for the Un-Expected?” Officer Heine was a healthy 30 year old police officer who collapsed when he was running from one disturbance call to another. He died later at the hospital from an undiscovered heart defect. Jeff was 43 years old when he was responding to a robbery alarm and had a major heart problem that nearly took his life. Jeff was lucky and had a chance to change his life and health, Nick was not. How’s your health? What do you do on a daily basis to maintain your wellness?
I found Jeff’s story on PoliceOne.com while reviewing their Wellness Forum and I’ll let you read his own words: “Greetings This is Lt. Col Jeffery W. Hart Asst. Chief of Police for the City of Morganfield Kentucky PD. I have never been a real advocate of Wellness training until April 2005 when at 43 and at 258 Pounds I was diagnosed with a Squeeze off on the back side of my heart. Under extreme Physical exertion the bottom third of my heart was being denied o2 because my heart was pounding so strongly it was closing the main vessel on the back side. This occurred after responding to an armed robbery alarm.
The simple fix was a stent in the occluded vessel which worked, however the required daily drug cocktail that ensued ruined my marriage and after two years I was fed up. I have lost 68 pounds and with medical advice dropped three of the five meds that i was on and now average 40 miles a week on a Bicycle. I feel better now that i ever have in my life. I actually weigh 10 pounds less than I did when they hired me 23 years ago. For those officers just coming out of the academy Never ever give up on your PT, Establish a Habit of PT for the rest of your life, you will live longer better stronger lives. Regardless if your agency requires it. Mine does not, and As a policy maker I am wrestling with ways to get everyone back into it. I cannot tell you how important this is to me for you to stay with your PT, I nearly died from ambivalence to it. A simple thing like 52 extra pounds and a relatively minor birth defect almost cost me my life.
Watch those hands, wear that armor Retreat is a viable option until cover is available. Jeffery Hart”
So what can we do to improve our overall wellness? Check out these 101 Tips from the 2008 Nursing Degree Guide. Pay attention to Number 97 that over 2000 police officers have heart attacks and die in the line of duty each year.
Follow that research to the recommendations on fitness and wellness programs from Det. Frank H. Wooldridge with the Bakersfield (CA) Police Department as quoted on the fireengineering.com site. He works with police agencies to design comprehensive wellness programs and may be available to help your agency. Do you have a plan to maintain your level of health and fitness? Does your agency?
Lt. Colonel Hart has been with the Morganfield Police Department for over 22 years. He came to Morganfield from the Henderson Co. Sheriff’s Office where he served as a Deputy. He has over 27 years of Law Enforcement service starting as a Military Police serving in Okinawa Japan in 1981. Lt. Col Hart also started at a Patrol Officer, then was promoted to the Department’s Investigator or Detective, then Sergeant and in 2002 was promoted to the Asst. Chief of Police. He is also their Webmaster. He is married with one stepchild. He can be contacted by CLICKING HERE mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
You can learn more about Jeff from our interview in this edition of the CopsAlive Audio Bulletin Podcast: CLICK THE PLAYER BELOW: