North Texas

Fort Worth Police Head to China to Powerlift in ‘World Games'

This weekend, nearly a dozen Fort Worth police officers are heading to China to face off against some of the strongest international athletes in the 2019 World Police and Fire Games.

They have different abilities, but they all share a badge.

"Being in good physical shape allows you to be in better emotional shape," said Det. Dillon Maroney said. "As a police officer that's so important to us."

On Saturday, 11 members of the Fort Worth Police Department's powerlifting team will board flights to China for what's been called the Olympics for first responders.

They'll compete in push-pull, lifting up to 600 pounds, but the real prize is something they've already won.

"We have a camaraderie that we've been able to spread throughout the whole department, which has actually helped us communicate with our jobs better and just makes us happier and more connected," Maroney said.

Members come from a variety of assignments, including the SWAT team, patrol, the gang unit and local schools.

Officer Rachel Polson is among them. She became a champion at the last world games two years ago in Los Angeles.

"I was able to compete against a girl from Russia and then one from Australia and I ended up getting gold," she said.

She's one of two women headed to Chengdu.

The team started in 2015 with four people, hoping to focus on health and wellness. It's now up to 25. All believe they're better at their jobs because of it.

"Jumping over a wall, I've got to have all my gear on, which, you know, is about the same as whatever pull-ups I'm doing, whatever weight I'm addling to it," Polson said.

Officer Polo Meza is one of the founding members.

"It helps a lot because we come in here and de-stress, we kind of vent to each other sometimes while we're in the gym. We also help motivate each other," he said.

Thanks to fundraising and T-shirt sales, that motivation is traveling a long way. North Texas helped "Back the Blue" all the way to China.

"For us, it's huge representing not only our department and city, but our state and country as well," Meza said.

Community members helped raise $123,000 that will not only sponsor the trip. it will help fund future events including local powerlifting tournaments for high schoolers. The powerlifting team is supported by a nonprofit. Donations are always welcome.

The world games officially start Thursday, Aug. 8, with a variety of competitions. A few other Fort Worth officers are also going to compete in darts. The powerlifting team plans to be there for eight days. They plan to update their progress on Facebook and Instagram.

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