How do some active duty police officers get away with being very fat?

Most of the police officers I see in my area (Eastern Shore of MD) are in very good shape, but now and again I see some patrolling police officers (ie officers in police cars) who are at least 40-80 lbs overweight, with huge sagging guts. Some of these obese officers are younger and some are older. I do wonder how they can keep their jobs if most departments have physical condition guidelines? How can an obese, out of shape officer stay employed?

Sorry I meant for this to be a GQ.

Getting obsessed?

I could have combined them but he scenarios are different. In the PO case there is actually (IMO) a real practical disadvantage to being a capable officer if you’re very obese. In the nurse scenario it’s really more of an employer’s preference for fitter employees, and the extent to which this desire can be enforced if the fat employee can still do the job. In retrospect I should have combined them.

As recently as the 1950’s (maybe even the 1960’s) it wasn’t considered to be a major thing for people to put on weight in middle age (not just among policemen but in American society in general). If you told someone in a profession that required a certain amount of physical activity, like police work, that he was putting on weight, his reaction would be “Well, duh, of course I am. It runs in the family. What am I supposed to do about it?” They might think about getting a desk job or retiring and starting a second career, but no one would force them to quit. This was even true in sports. Nobody told Babe Ruth that he was too fat to be playing baseball. The notion that most people could hold down their weight gain by exercise and diet was not standard in American society till the 1970’s.

You live in a rural area where the attitude that weight is mostly under the control of a person has not taken hold as much as it has in big cities. In big cities, policemen are told that they have to stay in physical shape and are told to control their diet and to get exercise (often in police department gyms). Do the police departments in your area actually have physical requirements? Are they actually enforced?

Moderator’s Note: Moving to General Questions.

Maybe he/she uses other abilities to solve problems, good listening and people skills. Sure, they probably won’t be running down anyone soon. Maybe departments weigh their commitment and aggressiveness into the mixture while overlooking other areas. I’m not sure of how often they are tested, but an example of an agility test is listed below.

  1. Complete the following tasks in a total time of two minutes and fifteen seconds (2:15) or less:

    a. Run up and down 4 flights of metal stairs, touching every step

    b. Run 150 yards on an asphalt surface

    c. Scale a six-foot high wall

    d. Land on and walk 15 feet on a 6-inch wide balance beam

    e. Hold two mechanical arms together on a handcuff simulation device for 30 seconds

  2. Drag a 165-pound dummy 50 feet in 30 seconds (0:30) or less.

I work for a law enforcemant agency (but not a police police department). To be hired as an officer, a candidate must meet certain physical and medical qualifications. After hiring, there isn’t any retesting.

Interesting. Just a personal observation here, but upon some reflection:

  • I have never seen a police officer on patrol who had more than a modest beer gut. Certainly none who would come close to being considered “obese”.

  • Since moving to L.A., I really can’t recall ever seeing a police officer even with a modest beer gut. The ones that I have seen that fit that description were back home in NC.

They have skinny backup.

In Northern Ireland the fatter cops seem to be reserved for quieter areas. Perhaps its the years spent driving around in armoured cars, or it could be an advantage to those standing up doing riot duty, easier to hold a wall of shields together if you’re bigger :stuck_out_tongue:

Sure, but makes you an easier target (although the extra padding might come in handy)

Some of the fatter ones are reallly good at their jobs.
No way would I want that expertise deleted from the department. Running after criminals isn’t by any means the only thing cops do.

How would you get a serial burglar to confess? Use only legal methods.
OK, now answer the same question (still only legally) for a guy who raped a four-year-old.
Thinking of one cop I know who told me the answers to both.

dont keep us in suspense - whats the answers?

OK, OK! I admit it. I did it.

Damn she’s good.

Astro, you do realize that you’re making an unwarranted assumption, here?

Simply because someone is obese doesn’t mean that they’re out of shape, and unable to perform to physical standards.

As an example, while I was in the Navy I fought with my weight constantly. (Not exactly a surprise, I had to fight to drop enough to enlist.) However, at the same time, while I wasn’t the most fit person in the command, I wasn’t the least fit, either.

At the time the military had a Physical Readiness Test, or PRT, ever 6 months. To pass one had to perform the following tasks (IIRC) (Stats for 20-29 yo males)

[li]Be able to touch one’s toes, while sitting on the ground, with legs stretched out in front of one, and flat to the ground.[/li][li]25 push-ups in a two minute period[/li][li]40 sit-ups in a two minute period[/li][li]Complete a 1.5 mile run within 14.5 minutes. [/li][/ul]

Now, I’ll grant you this is not a terribly difficult, nor exhaustive, test. But there were people whom one would consider to be in good physical shape who strove mightily to perform this simple test. And I was about 240 lbs, and passed it with flying colors. A couple of times I maxed it, just to prove to some wise-ass in the command that I was in better shape than they were. During this same period my blood pressure was 75-80/110, and resting heart rate in the mid sixties, low seventies.

IOW, while I was obese, I was also in an excellent state of physical fitness.

I don’t mean to claim that all the persons you see who are obese are in that kind of shape. I’m certainly not, now. But I think you should check your assumptions before making judgements. That fat officer you’re looking down at might be able to run you down after all. :wink:

Is driving toothpicks under somenes’ fingernails legal? If so, I think I’ve got your answer.:wink:

The problem with torture is that if I were permitted this technique, I could probably get most of the people on this board to confess to the same set of serial burglaries and child abuses that gabriela was referring to, and not only would we have thousands of confessions, but we’d probably miss the REAL serial burglar/child abuser, and he’d be back out there on the street.

Ah, but in gabriela’s hypothetical, the guilt was known, and all that was needed was a confession:

Besides, I was in the mood to do some torturin’.:wink:

Actually, there was a recent article, in Parade Magazine of all things, on the very subject of Babe Ruth and his weight, and what he did about it. Have a look.