OSHP should nix fat clause

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In what may be an issue as much about perception as it is about job performance, the state of Ohio is trying to keep its cops skinny.

The state is at odds with the Ohio State Troopers Association over regulations that allow officers who are consistently overweight to be dismissed.

In the middle of contract negotiations, this clause has become a sticking point for both sides, with the union fighting hard to get this changed.

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And they should.

This regulation sends the wrong message about being overweight, fails to focus fully on whether or not an officer can perform the job and is a slap in the face to the men or women who are good public servants by other measures.

According to Associated Press reports, no state patrol troopers have been fired in recent years but many have received verbal or written reprimands. Six Ohio troopers were removed from duty in 2003.

But most of Ohio’s troopers meet weight standards. The scary thing is that those who don’t for an extended amount of time can be removed from duty, with no pay, retirement contributions or health insurance, a move that doesn’t seem to have the troopers’ health in mind.

“Those who don’t meet the standards can get a pass if they perform well on timed treadmill runs, bench press and other exercise tests given every two years,” according to the AP.

We hope the state does the right thing and looks at creating a system that will include positive reinforcement and more effective fitness programs.

But, the flip side is that we also would like to see the state create more physical performance standards that all troopers would have to be able to pass once a year.

We hope the state works with the Highway Patrol to tip the scales in favor of performance over appearance.