When you think of police officers what image comes to mind?

The tough-talking, physically fit cop walking the beat, ready to chase down a perp at the drop of a hat? Or an overweight man whose belly slows him down from even issuing a jaywalking ticket, let alone chasing down a suspect?

These days, as many of our compatriots struggle with obesity, our first responders are also feeling the pinch.

Back in March, officials in the London found that half of their male officers—52 percent—were overweight. Even more startling, 22 percent were obese and one percent was morbidly obese. Because of this, a review board recommended fitness tests be instituted throughout an officer’s career to make sure they can handle the physical demands of the job.

The Daily Mail reports:

Currently the only fitness tests are for those applying to become police officers, or those joining specialist squads such as firearms.

Under the recommendations anyone who repeatedly fails fitness tests should be put on restricted duties, lose nearly £3,000 a year from their pay and ultimately be dismissed.

By September next year officers should be able to complete a series of 15metre shuttle runs, keeping up with an accelerating beep for three and a half minutes, and basic strength tests.

By September 2018 all officers should pass an assault course-style circuit test including crawling, jumping, climbing, running up stairs and dragging a ‘body’ away from danger.

Mr Winsor said fitness equipment should be installed in stations or officers given access to gyms to help them get fit. If they fail, they could be sent on weight loss courses, or given health and diet advice.

While police officers have to pass a physical fitness test to join the force, once they don the uniform, their health is their concern. Many officers pack on the pounds due while because of the stressful conditions and long working hours, but should police departments demand they also stay in shape?

According to Police Chief Magazine, the answer is a resounding yes.

Out of shape police officers not only put the public at risk, but they are also a danger to themselves.

Sergeant Adrienne Quigley writes:

Physical fitness can also protect officers from becoming victims. In the numerous offender interviews conducted by the FBI over the course of the past 10 years, it was learned that offenders typically size up their victims when deciding what they are going to do. Many had difficulty identifying a particular trait or mannerism that made them pick or not pick a particular officer, but they did articulate that the deciding factor was whether or not they felt they could “take them.” If officers appeared fit and conducted themselves in a professional manner, offenders hesitated; however, when officers were perceived as potential targets, offenders capitalized on the situation. Officers need to be cognizant of the image they convey and recognize that their appearance and demeanor in uniform is a primary factor in how others will perceive them.

Protecting the public and ensuring officers are healthy go hand in hand. Many experts suggest police departments institute wellness programs, exercise regimen, and nutrition classes to help officers stay healthy.

What do you think? Should police departments institute weight requirements and fitness tests for officers on the job? 

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  1. Ms. Information

    Yes because their health DIRECTLY effects their job performance…you can’t chase a criminal with an ass as big as the one in the photo…

    • @Ms. Information: Every job affects one’s health and your productivity depends on your health. Dracion laws only put band-aids on situations that are well beyond the individuals themselves. We’d all love to see an entire population of healthy, pleasing to the eye people but that’s not life. There are plenty of ‘overweight’ people that are healthy and fit

      • @Damon: This has nothing to do with how they look, it has to do with whether or not they’re able to perform their job. If they can’t chase down and catch a perp or save victims from criminals what’s the point of being a cop?

  2. I’m usually of the mindset that another person’s body, fitness level, health etc….is no one else’s businessm, but their own. However, this is one instance where it obviously affects how well they’re able to do their job, which is an important job and as such they need to be held accountable for their physical fitness and ability.

  3. I am retired from the U.S. Army and you bet your ass you have to maintain a certian level of physical fittness to keep your job. These disgusting police officers should be sumarily relived from duty. I am sickened by the thought of paying for all this diabeates medicine out of my taxes just because we did not remove these non-produces before there problems turned into ours.

  4. Nick, I agree with your sentiments about physical fitness, but must say that I am utterly aghast at your inability to spell these simple words: certain, fitness, summarily, relieved, diabetes, nonproducers, their. How did you make it out of school, then into the military as a career without being made to learn basic English words? I do not get it. Keep a dictionary handy. You will be a far more effective writer if you polish your spelling. You have the passion.

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