Joe Palumbo Was the Muscular Arm of the Legislation

March 30, 2022

When bodybuilding followers go to the Olympia, there are a number of people who they’ve gotten used to seeing yearly. Olympia President Dan Solomon at all times speaks at first of the festivities, Bob Cicherillo is at all times on the mic able to announce, “and new” or “and nonetheless.” Steve Weinberger and the judges are at their seats, able to make the tough selections as to who will hoist the Sandow.

Then, to the left of the stage, in his seat, is Joe Palumbo, IFBB Professional bodybuilder and safety for the Olympia. His job is to make it possible for the judges are capable of do their jobs and shield IFBB Professional League President Jim Manion and Vice President Tyler Manion.

Palumbo’s accustomed to working in a protecting position as a result of that’s all he has identified since he was 12 years previous. When his household arrived to the US in 1972, his father’s lawyer requested him what he wished to be when he grew up. Although younger Joe was nonetheless studying English, he knew the right way to reply that query.

“I instructed him that I wished to be a cop with muscle tissue,” he stated whereas laughing. “One thing simply popped in my head. That was the very first thing that got here to my thoughts, however ever since I actually wished to do this. I pursued that dream.”

Joe Palumbo adopted by means of on that aspiration when he enrolled within the Police Academy in New York in 1990. He recalled graduating and being sworn in as a police officer as one of many proudest moments of his profession and life.

“After I really graduated from the police academy, it was identical to, ‘OK, I lastly made it. That’s Half 1,” he stated. That second got here in 1994, and he was on Foot Patrol for the NYPD. Most officers labored that beat for six months, however Palumbo could be behind the wheel inside three months. He would go on to affix the Nassau County Police Division later in his profession, and he ultimately grew to become a member of the SWAT team. Although he had the chance to work his method up within the ranks, he was happy to be doing what he did in that position, and he was in that place for the following 12 years.

“It was nice for me as a result of I used to be educated in each potential situation that might be performed out, and all of the bases had been lined,” stated Palumbo. “I used to be simply so pleased being a cop and doing what I used to be doing.”

2001 could be the yr that Palumbo’s life modified ceaselessly each personally and professionally. Having achieved the aim of being a police officer, he now wished to work on the gold customary of muscle – changing into an IFBB Professional. Palumbo entered the 2001 NPC Masters Nationals and gained each the light-heavyweight and general titles. “Joe Swat” was now a professional bodybuilder.

Not lengthy after that contest, New York Metropolis suffered the Sept. 11 assaults on the World Commerce Heart. Palumbo’s unit needed to be on standby for the primary few hours after the assaults in case different incidents happened. They might ultimately get the go-ahead to go to floor zero to assist the opposite first responders. Although one of many darkest days in America’s historical past happened over 20 years in the past, Palumbo recalled the scene prefer it was yesterday.

“The clouds of smoke regarded so darkish, and you possibly can take steps and step on a physique half,” he stated solemnly. “I get choked up nonetheless desirous about it.”

Despite the tragedy of that day, Joe Palumbo recalled the sensation of unity that he felt from everybody round him within the aftermath of the assaults. The rebound of New York Metropolis and the sensation of widespread patriotism amongst all People can be one which he’ll always remember.

“Serving this nation was an honor,” he stated proudly. “The sensation of togetherness as one nation beneath God all as brothers and sisters was one of many best emotions in my life.”

At that yr’s Olympia, Joe, Betty, and Ben Weider requested Palumbo to take the stage so they might honor him for his 9/11 efforts. Whereas he didn’t really feel he personally was worthy of being honored, he shifted his focus to accepting the popularity on behalf of everybody who helped at floor zero.

“Jim Schmaltz of Flex journal reached out whereas I used to be at Floor Zero, and he stated, ‘We want you to symbolize the bodybuilders and the people who had been there on 9/11.’ I instructed him that I used to be solely down there just a few instances,” stated Palumbo. “He stated that they wanted me to symbolize the game. In the event that they felt I used to be worthy of it, then I made a decision to do it. I don’t keep in mind what I stated up there, however I keep in mind saying that I accepted it for everybody that helped on Floor Zero.”

Palumbo competed a number of instances as an expert over the following decade, together with on the Masters Olympia in 2002 and 2003. He positioned ninth in each contests. Away from the stage, he served the health trade by writing articles for health and regulation enforcement publications. He additionally supplied coaching and diet insights to regulation enforcement officers and first responders that wished to be in higher form for work and life. He even helped members of the US Armed Forces.

“Since I used to be in form, folks had been asking me how they could get into good shape,” he shared. “As soon as I began getting publicity within the magazines, different departments had been sending me emails asking to assist preserve their crew members in form. I finally went on to develop into a author for Tactical Edge and Tactical Response magazines. They trusted me as a result of I may relate to what they did and the careers that they had.”

Whereas he was thriving within the roles he had, Joe Palumbo confronted quite a lot of stress that got here from his work. That’s why the health club was greater than an avenue for bodybuilding — it was his launch when he had an extended day. He didn’t wish to take the aggravation from work house. Lifting weights proved to be a psychological well being profit as a result of it served as a launch.

“The health club was my go-to place to eliminate the stress,” he defined. “The No. 1 factor that saved me, and I defined to others, was to make the health club to put to go to so you’ll be able to take out all of your anger. The weights are there, and also you don’t must take that anger house.”

bodybuilder and police officer Joe Palumbo on a boat
Courtesy of Joe Palumbo

After a profession that spanned over 20 years, Palumbo retired in 2018. He now spends extra time round household and buddies and is having fun with life. He by no means takes his regulation enforcement profession as a right, and he expresses as a lot gratitude for having the ability to do it, and for those who nonetheless do it, as people who know him admire what he did.

“I loved my place, and I loved my job. As a matter of truth, I nonetheless miss it,” he admitted. “I considered myself as a proactive cop as an alternative of a reactive cop. In different phrases, I ended the crime earlier than it occurred. I nonetheless salute and thank each fellow member that’s nonetheless doing it.”

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