DALLAS – The Dallas Morning News (DMN) reported Monday that “pudgy” Texas Troopers could be pulled from duty under a fitness policy from the Department of Public Safety.
“More than 200 state troopers will need to slim down by year’s end or face discipline,” DMN reported.
The policy, posted online by DMN, said failure to achieve fitness standards will result in a required fitness plan. Those who fail to make progress on the fitness plan face consequences including: no eligibility for promotion, prohibition of secondary employment using the DPS uniform, temporary removal from enforcement role and no overtime.
What’s the standard?
“A commissioned male employee must have a waist measurement below 40 inches,” the policy said. “A commissioned female employee must have a waist measurement below 35 inches.”
If an officer does not meet the waistline requirement, there will be an assessment based on a chart of height/weight standards. There is a third way to pass based on a “standard for circumference measurements.”
The policy is not all negative. There are rewards like a fitness star to be worn on the uniform and public recognitions for fitness.
The policy itself said, “Statistically, law enforcement officers are 25 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than from the violent action of a suspect.”
It said the average age of a heart attack patient in law enforcement is 49. By comparison, it’s age 65 for civilians.
It also said, “Average life expectancy [is] 57 years for LEOs [law enforcement officers] – 79 years for civilians; and if a law enforcement officer lives to the age of 59, they have a 56% chance of dying from a heart attack. The same age civilian has only a 1.5% chance.”
DPS said the statistics are drawn nationwide but are still of concern for DPS employees.
The policy got underway in May 2020 and includes benchmarks through December 2022, at which time there will be “mandatory consequences.”
DPS provided a brief statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying in part, “The department continuously evaluates all programs for improvement.”
“… Recommendations and potential changes will be discussed at the August 2022 PSC [Public Safety Commission] meeting after the department has analyzed data from two complete testing cycles,” DPS also said.