Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Are you a Jelly Belly?"

That was the title of a memo sent to a police department in Florida by Police Chief Paul Goward. In it, he asked that the officers "take a good look" at themselves and get into shape (CNN) if they needed it.

"In his memo, titled "Are You a Jelly Belly," the chief never singled anyone out, and apart from the title, didn't call anyone names.

"Instead, he provided a list of 10 reasons police officers should be in shape. He said overweight police poorly represent the profession, poop out when chasing suspects and might have to resort to "a higher level of force" if a criminal got the upper hand in a fight. He said out-of-shape cops are a liability to the city and their families.

"Take a good look at yourself," he wrote. "If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and start thinking self-pride, confidence and respectability. And stop making excuses for delaying what you know you should have been doing years ago. We didn't hire you unfit and we don't want you working unfit. Don't mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you."'

Chief Goward was fired because the memo offended some of his officers.

Police work is physical, and being in shape is relevant to the job. I don't see any reason why this would be inappropriate in a police department.


trainer said...

There ia an old joke in Law Enforcement. Whats the difference between puppies and policeman, eventually puppies quit whining. As an officer for 23 year with patrol and special operations experience, myself and the others that I worked with pride themselvs on staying fit, working out and being warriors. If you can't or wont serve with distinction, professionalism and a warriors heart and attitude maybe its time to think about another profession. There are 3%'ers out there that will gladly take your life and if you can not do your job, serve the public and survive, if you can't fight, run or defend yourself then make room for the warriors and go sit on the couch! Some people should be the police and some people should call the police.

Sharon said...

I agree. I think the point about unfit officers being a danger to their partners and to the suspects is especially convincing. If an officer can't run far or fast, they're going to be more likely to use lethal force -- and less able to back up their partners.