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Bench Pressing Connects Cop to Denton County Community

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    Bench Pressing Connects Cop to Denton County Community

    An officer with the Northeast Police Department in Denton County found unexpected fame when we entered bench pressing competition on a whim. (Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019)

    A community in Denton County was all abuzz recently about what happened at a local gym.

    "Really neat to see the community, see everybody else get excited about it," said gym owner Matt Gideon. "The lady cutting my hair is like, 'That's where the cop did the bench press, right?' So, the community knows about it and it's been shared a lot."

    What's been shared is video of a local cop in full uniform bench pressing more weight than anybody else in the gym that day.

    "I just never expected that me doing what I do on a daily basis would be something as big as it is," said Brandon Bray, a police officer on the Northeast Police Department in Krugerville.

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    The peaceful rural setting and family focus of Krugerville drew Bray, his wife and two children to town. He found a spot on the police force after serving in the Dallas Police Department for nine years.

    Three years later, as one of 11 members on the department, he's still getting used to the change of pace.

    "Here I'm not just the cop who showed up, but I get to be a person here to talk to people," Bray said.

    That's what he was doing the day he was on patrol and stopped by a new business called The Shed Strength and Performance Center which was hosting an Open House.

    Here's how he and the owner recalled the afternoon.

    Bray: "We have an hour every day to work out, so I thought I might as well go and see what I can do."

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    Gideon: "We're chilling and I saw a police car pull up outside."

    Bray: "I saw on their Facebook page they were having a competition for bench press."

    Gideon: "He gets out of the car and automatically, I think, there goes my bench press, five-rep max." 

    Gideon had challenged people to come by The Shed for a competition testing how much weight they could bench press for five repetitions.

    Bray, a baseball player growing up, took up power lifting recently and decided to get in the competition.

    "When Officer Bray came in in full uniform, that was a big deal," Gideon said.

    "My warm up was 135 for 10 reps, then 225 for 10 reps," Bray said.

    Gideon remembers as Bray started "putting on more and more weight," the cellphone cameras started rolling.

    Rep after rep brought admiration and respect.

    "He went to 335 and he hit that, too," said Gideon. "Everybody's gathered around, that's a lot of weight to push up." Gideon said.

    Bray knew he was "going light that day" and could push it further. He bench pressed 350 pounds and won the competition.

    "He won. He won," said Gideon. "A $20 gift certificate."

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    "I think a $20 gift card to Palio's Pizza," Bray said. "Yeah, pizza. Gotta fill the power belly." 

    That day filled the officer in other ways, too.

    "Everybody was cheering me on and screaming and yelling, and all that, so it was fun," he said.

    It connected him to community.

    "A lot of times we get looked at funny when we walk in in full uniform," Bray said. "It's one of those things, I want to prove to myself as much as anyone else that just I wear this, I'm not someone they gotta be scared of."

    He's just someone who wants to do a good job, raise a family and live in a place that feels like family too.

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