Everything is bigger in Texas, unless you work for the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Trooper. A fight which started in 2019 over waistline requirements sparked a lawsuit by the Texas DPSOA (Department of Public Safety Officers Association), is back— front and center. The 2019 lawsuit was dismissed after there were no actual penalties administered against troopers who failed to meet the standards.
Male troopers with waists over 40 inches and female troopers with waists over 35 inches will have to begin a “Fitness Improvement Plan” which is described as a “training initiative to assist in helping individuals attain and/or maintain physical fitness and command presence requirements.”
According to The Dallas Morning News, 4,000 troopers were tested as of April, 2022. 213 troopers did not meet the waistline requirements— only two out of that 213 actually failed the physical fitness requirements. Let that sink in.
Back in 2019 Dr. Tim Church, a scientist, who has researched the relationship between waist circumference and health provided the opinion, “the size of your waist does not reflect how physically capable you are or are not. Look at so many athletes they’ll have a large waist but be tremendously capable of doing physical things. If we’re talking about health, it’d be perfectly valid. But if we’re talking about the ability to do a job, absolutely not.”
Department leaders insist that meeting the waistline requirements is necessary for troopers to have command presence when dealing with the general public. Troopers have until December 1st to meet the waistline requirements— or face the consequences of being denied for promotions, overtime pay, or even face the possibility of being removed from enforcement duties.
The removal of troopers from enforcement duties will come as a heavy blow to the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety). the Texas DPS has not only been struggling with recruitment but also with enforcement actions since the implementation of “Operation Lone Star.” With Operation Lone Star, Texas Governor Greg Abbott moved 1,000 DPS personnel to the Texas Mexico border. As of March 04, 2022 Governor Abbott’s website claims the Texas Department of Public Safety along with multiple agencies has recorded an estimated 208,000 migrant apprehensions, along with more than 11,800 criminal charges, including 9,300 felony charges. Governor Abbott also credits the Texas Department of Public Safety with seizing over 269 million lethal doses of fentanyl across the state.
With numbers like that it’s hard to understand how less troopers conducting enforcement duties would be a good thing for the citizens of Texas.
Fitness standards are nothing new in the law enforcement profession. 3,998 out of 4,000 Texas DPS troopers demonstrated they are more than capable of meeting the physical standard. What about the 211 troopers that failed the waist measurement while still passing the physical fitness standards? Do you think waistlines matter? Or do you think that at the end of the day all you want is someone physically capable of doing the job they are sworn to do? Let us know in the comments below.
The links below contain one Texas DPS troopers Fitness Improvement Plan and the other link is an update provided by Governor Greg Abbott about Operation Lone Star.