- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - An impromptu competition is brewing in the Spartanburg Police Department’s records division over who can walk the farthest during a typical 10-hour shift.

It’s all a part of the department’s healthy living imitative that began last week using an indoor treadmill designed for office use. The treadmill, police officials said, is a tool that the records division staff can use while working to improve their overall well-being and promote active lifestyles.

The TrekDesk, which has a setting for walking speeds from 2 to 4 mph, is great for exercise in the office since working at a desk answering phone calls and checking records can be taxing on the body, said Kristina Forrester, a police aide for the records division.

Forrester clocked more than 10 minutes of walking while reading and responding to emails using the treadmill on a Friday afternoon. Another colleague holds the current record of 48 minutes so far, she said.

“It gives us another option other than sitting down for 10 hours. You can get up and do something else,” Forrester said.

The treadmill desk sits in an open space behind the office’s traditional desks and walk-up windows.

The product cost about $1,000, said Maj. Steve Lamb, who heads the department’s investigation and special services bureau.

A laptop that sits on the desk that hovers over the treadmill can remotely access the files and programs on the other desktop computers, allowing those on the treadmill to still carry out their work. A counter also found on the desk keeps track of the person’s time walking.

Deputy Chief Jennifer Kindall said she started considering such an effort after Spartanburg was selected as one of five cities in the country to participate in Way to Wellville, a national competition involving communities focusing on ways to improve the health of its residents.

She read a news article from Dallas about a treadmill being used in a city call center office to help employees get into shape.

“As a whole, a lot of us in the city, not only in city government, are looking for ways we can be healthier,” she said. “Having something in the workplace seems to be a trend now. . This has been a hit with them.”

Dan Lemley, the department’s police support services manager, leads the records division of seven non-sworn police aides and said he was skeptical of the idea at first. He didn’t think anyone would want to use the TrekDesk, he said, but added that the staff quickly proved him wrong.

“They sit at a desk for 10 hours a day. This helps with health issues and increases productivity,” he said. “It’s recommended that we walk 10,000 steps a day, and this certainly helps with that.”

The treadmill in the records division is serving as a pilot test site to see whether other areas of the department could benefit from exercise equipment for the office, Kindall said.

The records division staff is responsible for taking walk-in questions and concerns from residents, filing paperwork and assisting officers on patrol who call in with requests for information.

Kindall said she and others consulted with their human resources personnel who are also consultants for employee health insurance, and they also encouraged the treadmill effort.

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Information from: Herald-Journal, https://www.goupstate.com/

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