Belleville police officers are taking advantage of new gym, courtesy money seized from drug dealers

BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) - Belleville police officers are working with new ways to fight crime.

For Staff Sergeant Bill Herling, every second counts whenever he faces a dangerous encounter while on duty.

That's why he along with several of his fellow officers have been taking advantage of a brand-new workout facility built right inside the police station on West Main Street.

"It's very important for every day on duty officers as your anxiety level goes from zero to here in any given moment so you need to be ready and in shape," said Herling.

The gym comes fully equipped with brand new weight machines, dumbbells and cardio machines.

"Law enforcement is very dynamic and could be over within a few seconds or could be minutes," Herling went on to say, "so if you're in good shape, the fight is obviously going to be in your favor."

The equipment is worth $39,000 and none of it costs taxpayers.

"It's money we seize from drug dealers to help pay for this," said Staff Sergeant Chris Mattingly.

That's also known as asset forfeiture money which is in addition to a donation from the Police Benevolent and Protective Association lodge.

Officers said that the workout not only helps them build endurance, but also the ability to prevent injuries.

"There are times we go from sitting in our police car doing nothing to now you're doing a foot pursuit and that's where the most injuries will occur, that sudden change in level of activity," explained Mattingly.

Herling said that every challenge while in uniform is different but knowing the time spent in the gym, will help him prepare to be a better officer both physically and mentally.

"A lot of people are sitting in prison right now working out every day so when they come out and they think they have an upper hand it's a little different," said Herling, "we are obviously trained better and need to be in optimal shape to meet that challenge."

The department has also used money from the forfeiture fund to buy a couple of motorcycles, a prisoner transport van and tractor trailer scales.