Texas State Troopers Launch Mandatory Weight Loss Program

Hundreds of Texas state troopers will have to shrink their waistlines by December or face discipline from the Department of Public Safety, DPS documents say obtained by the Dallas Morning News.

The department wants its 4,000 officers to maintain a “command presence” by keeping waist sizes below 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. Those who exceed the threshold are required to begin recording and sharing their weight loss with the department.

More than 200 officers failed the requirement — though all but two passed the department’s other fitness tests, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Those who still fail the requirement by Dec. 1 cannot be promoted or take secondary uniformed jobs, according to documents shared with the Chronicle. Some will also be banned from working overtime or completely stripped of enforcement duties, removing them from the field at a time when Governor Greg Abbott is deploying state troopers to the US-Mexico border in the part of Operation Lone Star.

To avoid these penalties, officers committed to their individualized “fitness improvement plans” to cook their own meals and drink fewer diet sodas, among other goals.

The waistline rule began in 2019 and resulted in a lawsuit that year from the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association. The organization, which represents 4,700 DPS employees, called the policy “demeaning” and unrelated to performance. After pandemic delays until 2020, the department began using the new metrics to assess officers last September.

In a statement to the Chronicle, a DPS spokesperson said the department would re-evaluate the rule in August, but pointed to the department’s general fitness policy to justify the waistline requirement.

“There is little that others can do to improve an officer’s level of health and fitness,” the policy’s goal reads. “Unfortunately, good health and fitness does not happen by chance; therefore, personal goals must be set and effort must be made to achieve them.”

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