Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Cops, Donuts and Fast Food

I should definitely start this post off by saying I hope I don't deeply offend anyone with this post.

Police Chief fired for attempts to get officers in shape.

I never thought I'd hear the day when a police department became so politically correct that they couldn't handle being told they *should* get in shape. Not even that they were forced to do so.

Winter Haven, Florida officers must pass a physical fitness test to be hired, like so many other departments, but are not held to a standard after being hired; also like so many other departments. The chief issued a memo suggesting 10 reasons police officers should be in shape.

I've got to admit, I'm kind of a fat snob. I firmly believe that many of the health problems that plague so much of our country are directly related to the fat-is-beautiful, clean-your-place mentality we drill into our children. And I don't for one second feel sorry for people who cause their own heart disease, high blood pressure, back/knee problems, diabetes type 2, ETC ETC because they can't stop eating. I have yet to hear of any medical journals, studies, or health articles that prove people are fat for purely genetic reasons, or reasons out of their own control. I am bound to piss people off with this standpoint, but we're a nation of whiners who can't be held responsible for anything we've done. To the point that doctors are unable or unwilling to tell their patients that they need to lose weight or they will continue to deteriorate.

I also strongly believe that officers should take better care of themselves, and should take periodic health assessments and physical fitness tests to keep healthy. My husband J also believes this. He has come home in the past and discussed foot pursuits where the overweight officers he works with were unable to keep up, unable to catch the person, and who injured themselves attempting to chase someone. He's also come home and been angry with himself for getting winded after a pursuit. He's come home proud that his fitness or training enabled him to gain control of a subject.

I know full well why so many cops are overweight. They spend 8 hours on edge. Many departments don't have their own kitchens. During third shift there isn't anything open but the greasy spoon diners, the Taco Bells, McDonalds, fast food. They don't have time to eat anything other than crap. Often they don't have time to pack a better meal, and turkey sandwiches get boring pretty quick. And to make matters worse, those of us that support the departments and the men & women in blue tend to bring extra goodies around the holiday times. Plates of cookies, cakes, pies, donuts, etc. Those shops also donate at certain times of the year. People that thank the police usually do so in the form of some bakery concoction. I'm guilty of it.
Those foods aren't bad, on occasion. They're devastating when it's all you eat. And no amount of exercise is going to save you if you're eating empty carbs, saturated fats, and tons of sugar.

I guess what I'm getting at is I'm shocked this chief was forced to resign over this. I've sat around groups of cops, usually over a meal, and invariably someone makes a self-deprecating comment about their weight or fitness level. This chief was trying to motivate his department, without singling anyone out (so the article claims), and lost his job. Granted the article does claim this is just one in a series of examples that the officers felt 'picked on' by their chief. But in a job where you pick your battles, isn't that one you should have let go?

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