After fighting crime, New Jersey officer fights opponents in the ring

Night shift, third watch, working graveyard; whatever your department calls it, there’s no denying the level of endurance it takes to protect and serve the community while most Americans are in a deep sleep.

But while some officers may be trying to catch a few more well-deserved afternoon z’s before their next clock in, Charles Brewer Jr. of the Pennsauken, New Jersey, Police Department is likely finishing up a vigorous training session, complete with weight and cardiovascular training, footwork exercises and an intense heavy bag workout.

Seem extreme before starting an overnight shift? Maybe, but that’s the price Brewer is more than willing to pay to fulfill his goals.
With a burning desire that started as a freshman in college, the 25-year-old was able to live his dream of becoming a professional boxer when he made his official fighting debut in January. Brewer came out swinging — literally — in his first bout, winning by technical-knockout in the second round, much to the delight of friends, family and his brothers and sisters in blue.

Several Pennsauken officers were in attendance to see Brewer make quick work of his opponent, including Sergeant Gavin Rossner, a 17-year department veteran who spent the past several months supervising Brewer.

“He went in there and handled business,” Rossner told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s pretty impressive that he can handle all the training and the job — it’s demanding. We do 12-hour shifts, so you have to find some time to sleep and recover, but he’s still out there doing his job. He writes a good report, which is a big part of it, too. Not just the physical stuff, he’s got the mental side of it.”
Less than one day after his big win, Brewer was back on his regular patrol — perhaps just a little sorer than usual. “I felt like I had been in a car crash,” Brewer joked.

After the hard-fought win, Brewer treated himself to some cheat meals, indulging in previously forbidden foods such as chicken wings and cheesesteak before it was back to the grind. On his off days as an officer, Brewer devotes most of his free time at the local boxing gym. Brewer’s routine typically includes where he starts with a fast-paced shadow boxing session, followed by rounds on the speed bag.

While having a second career as a boxer comes with its fair share of benefits, from better endurance to improved combat skills, Brewer says the biggest law enforcement edge his boxing experience gives him is patience.

“People automatically think just because I’m a boxer that I’m violent when it comes to law enforcement,” Brewer says. “But it actually makes you calmer. I’m probably the last person to get into anything. It helps with my de-escalation.”

Brewer, who was previously a county jail corrections officer, says patience helps him read people’s body language and determine when a situation may potentially escalate.

“I’m calm, I go into every situation a little more aware of things,” Brewer says. “Funny enough, looking at people boxing in the ring, you get so used to how people are standing. If someone’s about to hit you, they’re not standing in front of you, they square up and adjust their hands and tuck their chin.”

Like father, like son

Dubbed “The Hatchet” during his days as a professional boxer, Brewer’s father, Charles Sr., is a former middleweight champion who retired with an impressive 40–11 professional record. With early memories of watching his father train for upcoming fights, it was only right that Brewer Sr. returned the favor by standing in his son’s corner during his first professional fight. “When we’re in the corner, he’s not just my trainer, he’s my dad.”

Although Brewer hopes to one day transition into becoming a full-time professional boxer, protecting the community he serves will always be his utmost priority. Brewer’s next fight is set for August. American Police Beat is with you every step of the way, Charles!

As seen in the May issue of American Police Beat magazine.
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