AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A union for Texas troopers is suing the state over a new policy that limits the size of officers’ waistlines.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is implementing new fitness requirements under which male officers’ waistlines must be no more than 40 inches and women’s waists must be 35 inches or less. Those who can’t meet the standards could potentially face disciplinary action including reassignment, denied overtime or deemed ineligible for promotion, the San Antonio Express News reported.
While troopers have always been subject to fitness standards, Richard Jankovsky, president of the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers, calls the new requirements demeaning.
“Not all physically fit troopers are of the same body type, the same height or the same genetic makeup,” said Jankovsky. “The new standards have moved beyond testing for fitness needed to perform one’s duty as an officer into an appearance policy that has little bearing on an officer’s ability to keep Texans safe.”
The lawsuit alleges the new policy violates state law because it doesn’t directly relate to a trooper’s job duties and wasn’t developed with the aid of a consultant.
The Department of Public Safety said it does not comment on pending litigation.
Officers with waists above the requirement will be given some leeway if they can pass two other measurements based on height and weight or body fat percentage. As of last spring, it was estimated that more than half of the commissioned officers who went through fitness testing wouldn’t have met the new waistline requirements.
The union is asking a judge to put the waistline standards on hold while the lawsuit moves forward.
Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com