Texas Department of Public Safety, Fitness Wellness Unit

Speaker Bio's:

Michael Harper, M.Ed., ACSM-CPT is the Fitness Wellness Training Supervisor for the Texas Department of Public Safety. In his role, he oversees physical fitness testing and assessment for commissioned officers within TX DPS in addition to overall wellness programming for employees.

Michael has provided presentations at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Officer Safety and Wellness Symposium, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Physical Techniques Training Consortium, American Occupational Health Conference, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) mid-year conference in 2019 and 2020, the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT), Public Safety Commission over TX DPS and multiple agencies throughout Texas as well as across the nation. In addition to presentations, Harper has published multiple articles in the IACP Police Chief Magazine. As former Associate Director and Strategy Leader for First Responder and Military Programs for The Cooper Institute, he assisted agencies throughout the U.S. & internationally with fitness programs. He was involved in curriculum development, editing, and dissemination, in person and through scholarly publications and online content.

Michael started his career as an Assistant Strength Coach at Texas Tech University before moving on to become Head Strength Coach at Tarleton State University. During this time, Michael oversaw all aspects of the strength and conditioning programs for 13 different sports.

Michael received his bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University and Master of Education in Health & Physical Education from Tarleton State University plus maintains significant practical learning as a competitive collegiate as well as endurance Ironman athlete.

Greg Davis, M.S., Captain, DPS Training Academy (Fitness Wellness Unit, Leadership & Professional Development Unit, & Operational Medicine Unit)

Captain Davis is a 34-year Law Enforcement veteran and executive who currently serves as a Training Academy Coordinator with experienced oversight encompassing the Fitness Wellness Unit/Operational Medical Unit/Arrest Control Tactics Unit/Leadership and Professional Development unit, and the Trooper Trainee Unit. Captain Davis provides subject matter expertise in use of force, executive/dignitary protection, fitness, wellness, and stress management influencing executive leadership, middle management and the rank-&-file within the criminal justice, law enforcement, fire and military communities. As a Fitness Specialist and a Physical Fitness Training Coordinator, Captain Davis has over 20 years of educational/practical expertise as well as certified teaching/coaching expertise in all phases of exercise science and fitness programming & assessment. Captain Davis has contributed to the Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research National Law Enforcement Advisory Board as well as deliver professional SME testimonial in federal, state, county, and local government proceedings. Captain Davis completed four evaluation studies at the Texas Department of Public Safety that led to successful policy change and the implementation of an award winning physical fitness testing and assessment protocol influencing domestic and international law enforcement, fire, and military agencies.

Captain Davis received his Master of Science Degree from Texas State University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Texas at Austin as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southwest Texas State University.  Additionally, Captain Davis received professional certifications in health/fitness education, programming and training from the United States Olympic Training Center (Colorado Springs, Colorado), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (Glynco, Georgia) and the Cooper Institute (Dallas, Texas); as well as, over 34 years of practical application as a competitive athlete trained by world class coaching.

Professional SME Testimonials:
*Committee on Homeland Security: Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers: Preparing America's Law Enforcement to Protect the Homeland – Subcommittee: Oversight, Management, & Accountability (116th Congress) Washington D.C. (2019).

*Bureau of Justice - Officer Safety Wellness Committee. Washington D.C. (2020).

*Texas Public Safety Commission Board (2012-2019).

* Texas Legislative Bill Proposal and Development. (2013/2015/2021)

Professional Speaker/Lecturer:
Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT: Texas Police Chiefs and Command Staff Leadership Series - Sam Houston State University). International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP: Annual and Mid-Year Conferences. IACP State Police and Provincial Academy Directors Conferences (SPPADS). FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (FBI-LEEDA: Wellness/Resiliency SHIELD Training for the Leadership Institute (Supervisor/Command/Executive). Texas Police Chiefs Association. Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of the Inspector General. Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife – Law Enforcement. Texas Office of the Attorney General. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Texas Association of Counties. Capitol Area Council of Governments. Alamo Area Council of Governments. Texas Municipal Human Resources Association. Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association – Executive Training Institute. Georgia Police Accreditation Coalition. United States Marine Corps – Training & Education Command. United States Border Patrol. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Physical Techniques Division.

*Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research National Law Enforcement Advisory Board. (2010-2016)

*Physical Readiness Testing Committee. (2010-2017)

Master Level Peace Officer. Advance Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Instructor. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center - Certified Law Enforcement Fitness Training Coordinator & Law Enforcement Arrest Control Tactics Training Coordinator. Cooper Certified Law Enforcement Fitness Specialist. United States Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach. Functional Movement System (FMS). Mechanical Advantage Control Holds (M.A.C.H. ™) Instructor; M.A.C.H. ™ Close Range Subject Control (CRSC) Defensive Tactics Instructor. SPEAR System Instructor; SPEAR Control & Arrest Instructor. Field Training Officer (FTO). Taser Instructor. Pepper Ball Delivery System/OC Instructor. Pressure Point Control Tactics (PPCT) Instructor. Armament Systems & Procedures (ASP) Baton Instructor. Reality Based Training (RBT) Instructor.

*Life Saving Award: Public Safety Commission

*Unit Citation: Public Safety Commission

*Chair Award: 100 Club of Texas

* International Association Chiefs of Police

* State Police & Provincial Academy Directors

* Texas Department of Public Safety Association

Philosophy – Age wrinkles the body; quitting wrinkles the soul – Finish What You Start!

Hobbies – Family, Fitness Training, Fishing

Favorite quote – “I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.” General Mattis


Physical Fitness in the Academy Setting

Many different approaches to the topic of physical fitness in the academy and beyond have been attempted. Despite previous efforts, law enforcement officers still suffer from disproportional rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. With these risks, police officers have reduced job effectiveness, proven increase in personal and agency liability, and substantially reduced life expectancy1. The Texas Department of Public Safety has taken the lead in successfully mitigating these risks with a comprehensive and award-winning program of physical fitness testing and assessment, wellness, resiliency, and nutrition. Details about this progressive, rigorous, and result driven physical fitness program not only for incumbents but incoming Trooper Trainees will be discussed along with steps that any agency can utilize to adopt components into their program for incumbents and trainees.

1.  Violanti, J.M., Fekedulegn, D., Shi, M. and Andrew, M.E. (2020). Hidden danger: A 22-years analysis of law enforcement deaths associated with duty-related illnesses (1997–2018). Policing: An International Journal, 43(2), 330-344.https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-07-2019-0109


Link Between Officer Safety and Nutrition

The 6th Pillar of 21st Century Strategic Recommendations for Policing focuses on Officer Safety and Wellness. With an emphasis within law enforcement on command presence and de-escalation techniques, nutrition can play a vital role. Proper nutritional education can help ensure that officers are appropriately fueled for performance and recovery in addition to having the knowledge needed to lose weight as well as maintain weight. Finding the right strategies to implement a sound nutritional plan can be difficult within law enforcement due to the dynamic and unpredictable components of the job. However, there are simple strategies that can be implemented.



This course examines basic resiliency principles along with strategies and techniques to improve the officer’s response to stressors. This course will discuss topics such as the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset, the Texas Department of Public Safety Resiliency Domains and Tenets, and tactical breathing to regulate the physiological symptoms associated with the stress response.  In this class learn the positive impact resilience training can have on an officer while at work as well as off duty.