Sacramento, CA

SacUpdate Exclusive: Second officer charged in anabolic steroid probe

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Matthew Thompson via KCRA 3

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (SacUpdate)  — A second Sacramento police officer has been charged with misdemeanor anabolic steroid possession alongside Justin Shepard, The Sacramento Update has learned.

According to court records obtained and released by The Update, Officer Matthew Thompson has been charged with one count of violating section 11377(a) of California’s Health and Safety Code by possessing trenbolone acetate and testosterone enanthate for personal use, one of the same misdemeanor charges Shepard was hit with in August. The DA’s Office briefly announced the filing of two steroid charges against Shepard, however, failed to make any mention of a second officer.

Testosterone enanthate, which is used to treat breast cancer, low testosterone levels in men, and as transgender hormone therapy, can be abused as a performance-enhancing drug to build muscle and improve athletic performance. Trenbolone acetate, known under brand names like Finajet and Finaplix, is used in veterinary medicine to promote muscle growth in livestock. The drug is popular with bodybuilders and is frequently abused casually to maintain an athletic physique.

The benefits can be a draw to some, but the sometimes-permanent side effects for men can be just as prolific. According to Cerner Multum, abuse of testosterone can result in dangerous side effects, some of which include enlarged breasts, shrunken testicles, infertility, and an increase in aggression and violence.

According to the DEA, anabolic steroids have evolved from a substance abused almost exclusively by professional athletes and competitive bodybuilders to an under-the-table law enforcement tool used to give officers an “invincible mentality.”

“Law enforcement personnel have used steroids for both physical and psychological reasons,” a 2004 guide reads. “The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with “the invincible mentality” when performing law enforcement duties.”

Attorney PJ Sweitzer, who has written extensively on the topic of steroid abuse in law enforcement, says officers also take steroids to maintain an imposing physical image.

“For cops on steroids, this professional aesthetic of physical imposition and deterrence effectively becomes part of the uniform, a part of the officer’s professional “persona,” one of its distancing symbols,” Sweitzer wrote in a paper.

California state employment records show Thompson was hired in March of 2018, four months after he graduated from the police academy and became the star of a glowing KCRA 3 report. He made over $90,000 in 2020 and is currently on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Thompson will be arraigned in Sacramento County on the 4th and faces up to a year in county jail. He has no attorney listed in court records.

The Update has filed public records requests with several agencies for more records in this case. Please check back for updates.

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Ethan Biando is a freelance crime reporter.

Sacramento, CA
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