When Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Osborne finishes his shift on Siesta Key, he doesn’t just head home to relax. He takes off on a run; then, three or four days a week, he spends another hour weight training in the garage gym of a good friend.
“I love to train,” he says. “I love to stay in shape.”
His athleticism doesn’t just keep him fit for his job as the officer in charge of the Village’s community policing station — it also has enabled him to rack up multiple medals since 2002 in the Florida Police & Fire Games, law enforcement’s version of the Olympics.
This year, he brought home a gold medal in the five-stand skeet competition and bronze in the low-light shooting and tactical shotgun events from the games in Port St. Lucie. Osborne, 40, also participated in the sporting clays, skeet, doubles skeet and riot shotgun events.
Thanks to incentives from the Sheriff’s Office, he has won more than enough compensated hours to keep taking time off every year to go to the games. Each gold medal is worth 24 hours; each silver, 16; and each bronze, eight.
“I’m very fortunate the sheriff does that,” he says. “It’s a great incentive to stay in shape.”
The games are open to all Florida law enforcement officers, firefighters and military personnel. State corrections officers also participate, Osborne says. Federal law enforcement personnel in the state compete, too.
According to the website, www.lawgames.org, about 5,000 competitors annually represent more than 200 agencies in more than 45 Olympic-style events. The Sheriff’s Office often takes top honors overall in its category, because departments are divided by size for the competitions. Additionally, individuals generally compete with others in their age range.
Registration is always Father’s Day weekend. Osborne’s events are spread out from Monday through Wednesday. His favorite event is the sporting clays, which requires participants to shoot from 10 different stations.
“You don’t know where the ‘birds’ are coming from,” he says, noting they fly up from behind the shooter at times.
One of the other more enjoyable events, Osborne says, is riot shotgun skeet.
In past years, Osborne has participated in weightlifting and running events. One year, he competed in the Toughest Competitor Alive, which includes seven events in one day: a 3-mile run, a 100-meter dash, shot put, bench press, an obstacle course, as many pull-ups as the participant can do at one time, then a 20-foot rope climb using arms only.
Although he won the silver medal, Osborne says it wasn’t that much fun.
“It takes all day long,” he says, emphasizing each word. The competition typically runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Osborne makes a point of cross training to keep in shape, but he especially enjoys running. He competed in the 2009 Space Coast Marathon in Titusville, and he’s done a half marathon in St. Petersburg.
“I’m trying to get into the New York City Marathon, but (because contestants are chosen by lottery) I’ve been denied three years in a row,” he said.
He also participates in many 5Ks, as well as numerous runs on Siesta Public Beach.
“We need to spread the desire to want to stay in shape to more people,” Osborne says, adding he has been on the move since he was a boy. “I was a very active child. My mother has said she hopes I get what I gave to her with my own children.”
So far, however, he admits his 6-year-old son, Cody, and his 11-year-old daughter, Anastasia, are not that keen on running with him.
Beyond the physical benefits of the games, Osborne says, they are a valuable means of getting to know other law enforcement personnel.
“You make great contacts with all the agencies (from) all over the state,” he says. “It’s like spring break for cops and firemen. Everybody gets to let loose a little bit. It’s a good time.”
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