The Case Of The Overweight Policeman

overweight policemanWithin a few years on the job, some of the young perfectly toned and chiseled police men and women who leave Kiganjo turn into very unfit individuals who have trouble even getting out of their cars.

This sad situation makes you wonder why they’re scrutinized so much for fitness before joining the forces only to pile on the pounds afterwards.

While how much weight one maintains is personal business, cops, as a matter of job description should not have the freedom to carry around weight that can stop or prevent them in any way from dispensing their duties.

There’s a reason why they’re hired very fit and should be expected to work that way.

Let’s face it; a downright obese cop is a problem as far as fighting crime is concerned. With an overflowing midriff, they’re unable to outrun agile, fit-as-a-fiddle miscreants some of whom are as young as 14 years of age.

And what good is a cop who cannot run after criminals? Plus there is genuine concern that if a cop is unable to run after a suspect, he may be tempted to pull out his best gun and shoot. This however does not necessarily apply to our local cops who will shoot regardless.

Overweight policemen have over the years become a concern for most forces around the world and some countries have taken or are taking measures to keep the thin blue line actually thin. Different countries have used different mechanisms in the past.

As recently as January this year Taiwan’s National Police Administration launched a Police Run Club to help their cops drop the pounds. At the launch of the police weight loss program, dozens of running cops were led by none other than blind Kenyan runner Henry Wanyoike.

Bangkok Metropolitan Police has embarked on a similar project in the past where the cops were put on a healthy diet and exercise.

Mexico is considering giving their cops financial incentives of around $9.00 per every kilo lost. Cases abound where cops have opted or have been forced into doing desk work other than be in the streets because clearly they cannot run after thieves without the risk of collapsing. Like in Romania, overweight cops are given desk jobs or any other work that does not involve street patrol because they’re seen to damage the image of the forces.

But it’s easier said.

Excess weight is a difficult problem to tackle because it’s neither criminal nor disciplinary. And it’s tricky to discuss without appearing to cast aspersions at the person.

Calling on a person to lose weight for for whatever purposes let alone official can elicit a lot of raw emotions and maybe even human rights issues. Nobody is asking for police departments full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers but if the problem gets bigger, something definitely needs to be done.

Life is hard enough for our cops without being asked to maintain that svelte figure but one should make the effort to ensure they’re not a liability to their employers.

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