Rotary Club helps police get fit for duty

Sgt. Brian Falkenstein and the Trumbull Rotary hope to renovate the Police Department’s 1980s-vintage workout room. — Donald Eng
Sgt. Brian Falkenstein and the Trumbull Rotary hope to renovate the Police Department’s 1980s-vintage workout room. — Donald Eng

As a nine-year veteran of the Marine Corps, police Sgt. Brian Falkenstein has seen firsthand that being in good physical condition pays benefits that extend into every facet of military and police work.

“When you’re in shape, you respond better, and keep a clearer head,” Falkenstein said. “Adrenaline can go through the roof sometimes, but like I used to tell people in the Marines, when you are confident in your physical capabilities, it’s one less stress. It’s one less thing on your mind that you need to worry about.”

Falkenstein, with the support of the Trumbull Rotary Club, is seeking to renovate the Trumbull Police Department’s antiquated fitness facilities. Most of the equipment in the department’s basement exercise room is older than a lot of the officers who use it.

The Universal-brand weightlifting machine that dominates the center of the department’s weight room has been there since the 1980s. Popular in the 1970s, the setup has significant limitations.

“We got it donated to us when a local gym updated their equipment, so it was outdated when we got it 30 years ago,” Falkenstein said. “Plus it was designed for bodybuilding-type workouts that isolate every muscle group. Police need more full-body, functional strength and range-of-motion training.”

The Trumbull Rotary has approved the department’s request for a grant to update the fitness equipment. Fund raising is ongoing around town and online at under “Trumbull Police Fitness Equipment.”

Falkenstein, who put together the grant proposal, estimates the department could have a versatile, modern workout room for about $8,000, which would include replacing most of the equipment in the room and also creating training space to practice arresting and controlling suspects and other training exercises.

Though many officers belong to local gyms, having a workout room of their own would increase the overall fitness level of the department, Falkenstein said. For example, the gym is adjacent to the department’s locker facilities, where most officers change into and out of their uniforms each day.

“It’s a time-saver compared to driving to the gym, then coming to work,” he said. “It’s much easier to come in a little early to get a workout in, then shower and start your shift. Or finish your shift, spend 40 minutes in the weight room, then go pick up the kids at school.”

Working out together has an additional benefit, Falkenstein said, because officers will want to work out more when they know their coworkers are also hitting the gym.

“It’s sort of team building, sweating together, working out together,” Falkenstein said. “It pays off.”