Pumped-up Unalaska cop brings home medals

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002

UNALASKA (AP) -- Bill Simms looks like a guy who belongs in a weight room, not a police squad room.

The 5-foot, 10-inch, 330-pound Unalaska police officer sports the barrel-chested physique of a football lineman. He has his uniform shirts custom made, and still needs to cut off the long sleeves to fit them over 22-inch biceps, the size of Christmas hams.

''He's probably the strongest persons in law enforcement in the state of Alaska,'' said Unalaska police Sgt. Matt Betzen.

Based on his performance at the Can-Am Police and Fire Games last month in Spokane, Wash., Simms could be considered one of the strongest cops in the country.

Simms, 35, won a silver medal in the bench press, hoisting 515 pounds. He was edged by Canadian firefighter Randy Evans, who lifted 520 pounds.

But Simms also brought home a gold in a wrist wrestling competition. While not one of the officially sanction events at the games, it proves the claim of supercop.

The games are held every two years and draw about 1,850 police officers and firefighters from the United States and Canada.

The affable Simms said his second-place effort actually came on one of his bad days.

''I've done 600 here in training,'' he said. ''But it was 106 (degrees) there, and we were in a big circus tent. So it was even hotter in there. Being from Alaska, that was pretty hard.''

Despite his success, Simms said he is surprised to find himself among the top weight lifters in the nation. He had lifted weights competitively during his teenage years in Hawaii and while playing college football, but hadn't trained hard for more than a decade.

After being hired as an Unalaska public safety officer a year ago, Simms began putting more work into his lifting. He found his natural strength was still there.

While modest about last month's accomplishments, Simms says he'll do better at the world law enforcement power lifting championships next summer in Spain.

''I think I'll take gold,'' he said. ''Not to sound too overconfident or anything, but I can do a lot more.''

And Simms said he is always willing to work out with someone who is still finding his way around the weight room. He lifts two hours a day, four days a week, and said he is happy to teach people who approach him with questions about the sport.

''I don't know why, but people are intimidated by me,'' he said, smiling. ''I'm a pretty nice guy.''

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