GARFIELD, N.J. -- Garfield Police Officer Kevin Otero keeps his uniform crisp, his shoes shiny and his head held high.
At 260 pounds of solid muscle, the 34-year-old officer isn't one to mess with.
He knows it.
"When you’re physically fit and your uniform is form-fitted you look squared away," the officer said. "That alone will give you command presence."
It's compliance during a routine motor vehicle stop. It's submission when breaking up a fight.
It's unconditional respect -- something Otero learned in 2006, when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and began training at Parris Island.'
"I heard it in the drill instructors' voices," he said. "In the delivery of what they were saying."
Otero slowly began emulating his drill instructors until the end of his deployment to Iraq in 2009.
Staying in shape in the Marines was easy -- physical fitness was part of the daily routine.
The first setback, however, came in 2010, when Otero had three surgeries for plantar fasciitis.
A year later enrolled at Montclair State University, where he played on the football team.
A severe ankle injury on the field required another reconstructive surgery for Otero, who gained nearly 80 pounds while recovering.
"My weight has been fluctuating ever since," Otero said. "But through it all I stayed in the gym."
Even if he couldn't run or play the sport he loved, Otero made sure to stay as active as possible and keep his diet in check.
By the time he got to the police academy in January 2015, he was back down to 245 pounds, where he was again reminded of the importance of command presence.
He paired what he'd learned in the Marines and the academy to become the strongest police officer he could be.
Later that year, he became the CEO for Bergen County based Blue Line Beasts -- the social media monster for members of law enforcement in the fitness community.
Otero continues to work out five or more times a week, as keeping in shape helps him fit into his uniform better -- enhancing his command presence.
"When you initiate a motor vehicle stop, the driver will constantly be looking to see who gets out of the police car," said Otero, also a personal trainer at local gyms.
"Command presence helps you take control of a situation," Otero said. "It's about respect -- not fear."
Think you're the fittest police officer in Bergen or Passaic county? Know someone who is? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in the new Daily Voice series, "Fit Cops."
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