Texas State Troopers are now subject to waistline requirements. Male troopers with over 40-inch waistlines and female troopers with over 35-inch waistlines must cut size by December or else face discipline or possibly even be discharged.
According to the Dallas Morning News, department leaders have been concerned with overweight officers for some time. In 2018, they began tracking obese troopers and implementing additional fitness requirements. Deputy director of administration and services, Skylor Hearn, said that this was not only about the health and fitness of the officers, but of their presence:
“Obesity is a significant health issue in the United States and in the law enforcement profession. In addition to the personal health risks, obesity significantly detracts from an officer’s command presence and negatively impacts their overall effectiveness,” Hearn said at the time.
Due to the pandemic, the department had to hold off on their efforts until recently. Its latest testing rounds revealed that 213 officers out of around 4,000 measured over the waistline requirements. Despite this, of those 213 officers only two of which failed the physical fitness test. According to Dallas Morning News, officers could choose between three physical assessments: the standard test of push-ups, sit-ups, and mile-and-a-half run, rowing test, or a combat fitness evaluation.
In 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association attempted to sue the organization based on the new requirements, though it was later dismissed.
While it hasn’t addressed whether or not it will attempt to levy another lawsuit, the organization criticized the new measure: “DPS is continuing in its plan to harass, discipline, and even discharge outstanding officers for not meeting its physical fitness testing standards and appearance standards.”
Those officers who’ve failed the waistline requirements must track their and share fitness progress with the Department of Public Safety. If they do not meet the requirements by December of this year, they could be ineligible for promotions, overtime, and possibly be discharged.