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jca's avatar

How come police departments don't have weight requirements for officers throughout their careers, not just as a requirement for getting hired?

Asked by jca (36043points) July 24th, 2012

Many cops are overweight, no different from the rest of the population. However, it seems that a cop should be in somewhat decent physical shape, in order to do his job well. Many police departments have rigorous training programs which includes physical training and activity. This seems to be during recruitment only, and then the cops can gain just like everyone else.

Why don’t police departments have weight requirements for officers throughout their careers?

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15 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t think anyone disagrees with you, but how would you enforce something like that? And where else would have similar requirements?

Do you fire the 20 year veteran because he’s over the limit, is diabetic, and has bad knees? What does he do then?

Those are the real situations that would come from a similar policy. It has to be the same rules for everyone.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@funkdaddy I don’t believe we’d have to fire them, just give them 24 Hour Fitness passes or something and have target weight loss. Maybe at least 2 pounds per week seems reasonable. I know one place that regulates weight is the U.S. military.

zenvelo's avatar

Stewardesses (before they were flight attendants) used to have to “meet weight” weekly. Cops should too.

But they don’t have to be fired, just reassigned and ineligible for overtime.

ETpro's avatar

Probably because they don’t want to have to suddenly lay off one third of the force. But there is no question obesity factors in to officer performance. They should adopt the approach @_Whitetigress and @zenvelo suggest.

_Whitetigress's avatar

JCA try and put this on petition, I think a ton of citizens would sign that sucker

Judi's avatar

You never see fat firemen. They know that if they are not 100% someone could die. I agree. Police should have to pass a physical agility test every year or take a desk job if one is available.

funkdaddy's avatar

As an aside, could it be argued that in general “fit” employees would perform better in just about any job statistically? Less sick days, more energy, however you want to look at it.

A good portion of police officers aren’t especially active on a daily basis (obviously many exceptions), so should there be weight limits for all positions as a matter of employment?

We’re moving that way with employer provided insurance costs on the rise, so it’s not as far fetched as it may sound initially. Many give discounts for not smoking or regular exercise, so much so that large empolyers find it cost effective to build gyms in their facilities or provide memberships.

I just think we have to be careful what we mandate for others if we don’t want the same restrictions on ourselves.

jca's avatar

@funkdaddy: A good many police officers are not especially active on a daily basis, but they could be if something suddenly broke out, they had to chase someone, apprehend someone, confront someone and tackle them, etc.

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bkcunningham's avatar

I’m going to suppose that when you say “police departments,” @jca, you mean local PDs. Not to demean police officers on any level, but most law enforcement on the county and state level do require more of their employees; physically and mentally. But I do agree with @funkdaddy about the job requirement of investigators and many other ranks of police officers having very sedentary jobs.

My guess would be that the pool to select from is much smaller on the local level and requiring better physically fit people in the department narrows the field even more.

jca's avatar

If the weight requirement were put in place from the beginning, it wouldn’t be a surprise, and could be monitored annually so it wouldn’t get out of hand, and wouldn’t (probably wouldn’t) get to the point where someone’s job is at stake, because they’d have ample time and notification to keep it in check.

@bkcunningham: In good times, I would think that the pool of people who would want to become government workers would not be big. However, with the economy now the way it is, a steady job with good salary and benefits that doesn’t require a Master’s would be something I would think a lot of people might be interested in.

bkcunningham's avatar

You would imagine people would be lining up for any and all jobs, @jca, government or otherwise. Somethings are hard to explain.. You’d imagine people would be jumping at a chance at a good job.

jca's avatar

@bkcunningham: Understood, and I saw your link on trucking jobs. However, trucking jobs and PD jobs are two different things. Trucking jobs = irregular hours, long days away from home, etc.

As someone working for the government, I can tell you that the current test in my county for PD jobs has thousands (yes, thousands) of applicants taking the test in 3 different testing sites.

bkcunningham's avatar

So your county is hiring, @jca? What are the physical requirements?

jca's avatar

I just googled it (I can inbox you the county but I don’t want to post it because if ever a coworker comes here and sees the county, they may figure out who I am) and the site for the 2012 exam says the candidate must “meet medical and physical requirements set by the Municipal Police Training Council.”

I know for Correction Officer in the County I work for, the training is rigorous but they, too, get tons of candidates and have no shortage of people signing up.

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