Winter 2024
GPS technology helps law enforcement track health
Daniel Borowick, MS, CSCS, former DEA special agent

law enforcement

In today’s world, the law enforcement field has benefited from not only technological advancements for tangible assets such as an officer’s duty gear, raid equipment, police vehicles, and computers to name a few but additionally the advancements have been seen in the domain of health and wellness. 

Throughout law enforcement, as the same in the general population, health and wellness programs are being devised for employees to become part of healthier and more productive employees for the department they serve and their community but most importantly their family and loved ones. The challenges that law enforcement officers face are mental and physical. It is the police department’s health and wellness programs that offer a holistic point of view and approach to care for, rehabilitate, and prepare the officer to be most fit for duty. Their health and well-being are integral components to the success and longevity of their career.

Mental Health

Law enforcement officers frequently encounter very difficult incidents which range from witnessing violent crimes, violent acts committed against them, murder and death, anti-cop sentiment, and seeing their fellow officers make the ultimate sacrifice. All of this can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which affects their physical and mental health. In the physical realm, officers may encounter themselves with a lack of willingness to exercise in their program. They may lose strength, power, muscular endurance, lean muscle mass, and cardiovascular capacity and become less fit both anaerobically and aerobically. Worse yet, when cardiovascular health declines, cardiovascular disease sets in which is reflected in one’s yearly check-ups via health biomarkers. 

On the mental side, law enforcement officers can be affected mentally through a decline in sound judgment and making appropriate decisions during critical situations which are so important in their daily tasks. Some of the mental blocks that someone may encounter would be stress, anxiety, burnout, or negative thoughts to name a few. Furthermore, these may culminate in suicide ideation or worse yet, suicide itself. Since 2016, Blue H.E.L.P. (BH) has begun compiling statistics based voluntarily on police departments on the number of suicides per year in their respective organizations. Their mission is to reduce the social stigma of suicide through education and advocacy for those who are dealing with PTSD, to provide family support after this event, and to bring to light the subject of suicide and mental health issues. Their statistics as of the date of this writing indicate the following reported incidents of suicide to their respective organizations. They are 2023 (162 reported suicides), 2022 (216), 2021 (198), 2020 (197), 2019 (255), 2018 (194), 2017 (176), and in 2016 (152). Please see

GPS Technology

One of the most proactive efforts currently being utilized is wearing a global positioning system or GPS technology through the use of smartwatches. Whether the smartwatches provided are Apple or Garmin, they all provide critical information that can track and monitor the physical and mental well-being that can give a depiction of their wellness and how fit one is for duty. They provide an overview of their overall cardiovascular fitness. 

With these smartwatches, many biomarkers can be measured that can inform the user how they are performing physically and affected mentally at that exact moment. Some of the measurements include a physical side as far as heart rate features with your heart rate beat per minute and stress scores. With a heart rate monitor an individual can see whether they are training in too high or too low of an energy zone for their desired exercise program. This is paramount to know because if an individual is always training in too high of a heart rate zone, that can lead to being tired, developing acute or chronic injuries, falling into a state of overtraining, or even rhabdomyolysis. On the mental side, this can lead to a decrement in cognitive ability or the mental functioning of the brain and body connection in decision-making. 

Additionally, a decrease in cognitive ability can also lead to the central nervous system not being in sync with our muscles as our motor units are not firing off the way they should be when properly rested. However, once these metrics are assessed, the individual can decide what their level of stress is and what steps they may need to take to lower their stress levels. 

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A sleep score feature not only informs the user of their score but can give suggestions for improvement. A lack of sleep is a dynamic that law enforcement is cognizant of all too well with shiftwork, late nights, etc., but this data may assist the user in recognizing the fact that they perform better both physically and mentally with more sleep of a suggested 7-9 hours per night. 

Additional features in GPS technology contain sweat sensors that detect rises in stress levels and release cortisol, our stress-related hormone that raises glucose levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, hydration levels can be measured. When these aforementioned symptoms occur and they become chronic, the appropriate treatments can be made from a supervisory and medical standpoint.

Daniel J. Borowick, MS, CSCS, and founder of DOMEX Strength and Fitness, LLC is a former DEA Special Agent who has over 27 years of tactical experience in federal (DEA) and state (New Jersey State Police). Currently, he is a strength and conditioning specialist serving in the U.S. Army’s (H2F) Holistic Health and Fitness Program. You reach him through their website of, via Instagram and Facebook @Domexstrengthandfitness, or