Date: Mar 21, 2001
Press Release Number: 39-2001
Port Authority Police Lt. Ray Martinez freely confesses to indulging in a junk-food snack every so often.
But Martinez, a 17-year veteran of the law enforcement agency and 24-year employee of the Port Authority, is more likely to be found chomping carrots than chips as he prepares for the upcoming Natural Eastern Classic bodybuilding competition to be held later this year in Hackensack, N.J.
“A lot of people say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to lose some weight. I’m going to start working out.’ You have to stop talking and just do it,” says Martinez, a resident of Berkeley Heights, N.J., who is assigned to the Port Authority’s Staten Island Bridges.
Fred Morrone, the Port Authority’s Superintendent of Police/Director of Public Safety, says Lt. Martinez “is a great example of the attention our officers must pay to staying fit. Physical fitness is an important part of being a Port Authority Police Officer, because an officer never knows when he or she will be called upon in an emergency and, for instance, have to rescue someone by carrying them from a burning car.”
Until recently, Martinez taught the Physical Fitness and Nutrition Program at the Port Authority Police Academy in Sea Girt, N.J. He and two other police lieutenants developed the physical fitness standard all recruits must meet before becoming Port Authority officers.
“We’re proud of the standards met by our recruits, and I think it’s important to raise the standards for our veteran officers, too,” Morrone said.
Martinez is among a select group of law enforcement officials nationwide featured in the April 2001 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine. Of the 63 individuals in the article, Martinez is one of only four who are older than 40.
Martinez, a native of Puerto Rico who was raised in Jersey City, was inspired to weight-train as a 15-year-old, after being cut from the Ferris High School football team and bullied by one of the players. He created a barbell using two 16-pound bowling balls, a broomstick and rubber cement, then began working out with a fervor he never abandoned.
“At first, I could only do two or three curls at a time,” he says of those days in the 1970s. “But after a few months, I was doing 100.”
And breaking broomsticks by the dozen.
“Sometimes, they would snap, and I would be like, ‘Um, Mom, did you buy a new broom yet?’” he says with a laugh.
He began competing at 18, and before long was capturing championship titles, including heavyweight division crowns in Mr. New Jersey, Mr. Colonial America and Mr. New York City competitions. With his entry in the Natural Eastern Classic, Martinez, 44, will accomplish a rarity in his sport: competing in four different decades.
Much as Martinez enjoys staying fit for its own sake, he intends to add another title to his resume this year.
“I’m doing it for myself, win, lose or draw,” he says, then quickly adds: “After I turned 35, I started competing in the senior division, and I creamed everybody. I’m ready to go again.”
The Port Authority Police force is the 26th largest law enforcement agency in the U.S., with nearly 1,300 sworn personnel. They are responsible for enforcement of the laws of the two states in protecting travelers and commerce at the agency\'s three airports, four interstate bridges and two tunnels, Port Authority Bus Terminal, World Trade Center, marine terminals and PATH interstate rail transit system.