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  #1   ^
Old Wed, Nov-01-06, 15:53
SunnyCarol's Avatar
SunnyCarol SunnyCarol is offline
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Plan: Atkins OWL
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Default Fla. Chief Ousted Over Weight Memo

A bit of overkill to fire him! Police officers should have to stay fit. If they get their feelings hurt that easily, they need to get another job--one not as tough.

Quote:
November 1, 2006

Fla. Chief Ousted Over Weight Memo

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 4:49 p.m. ET

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -- Police Chief Paul Goward was tired of looking around his department and seeing blubber hanging over the belts of some of his officers. So he sent out a memo exhorting the ''jelly bellies'' to shape up.

In the end, the department lost 190 pounds -- all of them belonging to Goward. He was forced out as chief because some of his officers took offense at the memo.

The Oct. 11 memo bruised feelings on the 80-member force, drew at least one anonymous letter of complaint from officers about the chief's management style and made his department the butt of jokes about fat cops and doughnuts.

''If they got their feelings hurt to the extent of `Do something about it,' then I did what I was intending to do,'' said an unapologetic Goward, a trim 6-footer who was forced to resign his $92,000-a-year post last week.

Some of the chief's defenders said his ouster was a big overreaction.

''He offered tremendously good advice, yet he was sacked,'' wrote Thomas Roe Oldt, a columnist for The Ledger of Lakeland.

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.''

Winter Haven cops must pass physical examinations to be hired but are not regularly tested for fitness thereafter.

Goward, 60, said he is not a fitness freak, was not ''asking for a department full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers here'' and did not order his officers to stay away from fast-food restaurants or doughnut shops. In fact, the 36-year police veteran, who has also worked in Kansas and South Carolina, said Winter Haven's force is no less fit than the others he has served on.

David Greene, manager of the central Florida city of 30,000, said through a spokeswoman that he was too busy for an interview, but told the local newspapers the anonymous complaint letters made it clear the police department had a morale problem because of Goward's abrasive management style during his 2 1/2 years there.

''Emotions within the police department and the relationship with the police chief became raw,'' he told The Ledger.

Winter Haven officers contacted by The Associated Press said they were told not to talk to reporters about Goward's departure.

One of the anonymous complaint letters described the force as ''upset to say the least'' about the chief and called the ''Jelly Belly'' memo ''the icing on the cake.''

''This letter shows the type of harassment and hostile work environment we have. The chief of police is constantly 'bad talking' us in every way possible and we have had enough of his arrogance,'' the letter read.

Mandy Rohrbaugh, a 40-year-old nursing student and Winter Haven resident, said Goward had the right message, but perhaps could have delivered it differently.

''I think honestly our police force needs a lot of shaping up, and I think they should be fit not just when they're hired but through their time,'' she said.
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/...lly-Police.html
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  #2   ^
Old Wed, Nov-01-06, 18:43
potatofree's Avatar
potatofree potatofree is offline
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Plan: Back to Atkins
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Default

How about just instituting regular fitness testing for all instead of sending out a partonizing memo?
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Nov-01-06, 20:54
fujiwara fujiwara is offline
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Default

A surprising twist to the "it's OK to hate fat people" mentality. The chief was fired!
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 08:22
kaypeeoh kaypeeoh is offline
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Default

Why not adopt military standards for health; If you can do the required number of situps and pushups, you can probably catch bad guys.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 09:46
seyont seyont is offline
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Default

I'm guessing "Winter Haven" is a retirement haven. Were their job performances suffering? Were thugs running wild in the streets? I suspect not. The chief made an error and lost a cush job. He could have been more clever by having them walk beats instead of tooling around in squad cars.
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  #6   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 13:13
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bkloots bkloots is offline
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Default

I'm guessing this was just the tip of the iceberg of behaviors that made this particular chief an unpopular guy. Too bad this memo was the clincher, because he has a good point.

I kind of feel the same way about health care professionals who don't look healthy because of their weight. There are certain professions where it's a plus to walk the walk. Whip me with a wet (low-carb) noodle if you want.
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  #7   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 14:30
AL W AL W is offline
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Plan: Protein Power, Atkins
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Default

I'm with BKLOOTS. there must've been other incidents that made this one the straw that broke the camels back.
2 other points tho:
1) most police services do have fitness standards that must be passed at the recruiting stage and keeping that fitness level in the futureis usually recognized by services
2) walking a beat is only practical in highly urbanized environments
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  #8   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 14:43
potatofree's Avatar
potatofree potatofree is offline
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Plan: Back to Atkins
Stats: 298/228/160 Female 5ft9in
BF:?/35/?
Progress: 51%
Default

You know the difference, bkloots? (this isn't a wet noodle, lc or otherwise, just a thought) Your health care provider normally doesn't have to chase you down, disarm you and drag you back to the office to take your temperature before you kill 20 bystanders...
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  #9   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 15:46
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mike_d mike_d is offline
Grease is the word!
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Plan: PSMF/IF
Stats: 236/174/175 Male 72 inches
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Location: Alamo city, Texas
Default

I just wanna jelly doughnut -- Elvis.

Sounds like they need to establish a bike patrol?
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  #10   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 15:50
mike_d's Avatar
mike_d mike_d is offline
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Default not as I do

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkloots
I kind of feel the same way about health care professionals who don't look healthy because of their weight. There are certain professions where it's a plus to walk the walk.
Yeah, like Dr. Atkins, Oprah, and Dr. Phil
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  #11   ^
Old Thu, Nov-02-06, 23:16
jande2211 jande2211 is offline
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Default

Based on what was in his memo, it seems like the coppahs were overly sensitive.
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  #12   ^
Old Fri, Nov-03-06, 07:42
AL W AL W is offline
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Default

The militancy of a Police association or union is often proportional to heavy handedness of upper management over an extended period of time. How many BS memos did they let slide?
If fitness testing was implemented what do you do with coppers that fail? I doubt there are many forces out there that have enough coppers on the road to start pulling them off and giving them desk jobs. Do you suspend them? What if their fitness has something to do with a work relatd injury?
Most cops take pride in their uniforms and the way they look. They also know that badguys are constantly assessing them. If a cop looks incapable of defending himself he stands a far greater chance of having to do so. Maybe if the chief had sent out a memo with the latest stats on copper who became statistics he would have saved himself some grief and still got the point across.
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  #13   ^
Old Fri, Nov-03-06, 14:13
jande2211 jande2211 is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AL W
The militancy of a Police association or union is often proportional to heavy handedness of upper management over an extended period of time. How many BS memos did they let slide?
If fitness testing was implemented what do you do with coppers that fail? I doubt there are many forces out there that have enough coppers on the road to start pulling them off and giving them desk jobs. Do you suspend them? What if their fitness has something to do with a work relatd injury?
Most cops take pride in their uniforms and the way they look. They also know that badguys are constantly assessing them. If a cop looks incapable of defending himself he stands a far greater chance of having to do so. Maybe if the chief had sent out a memo with the latest stats on copper who became statistics he would have saved himself some grief and still got the point across.



That's a jump. Provide evidence and then it can be considered. As no other complaints have been recognized in the press at this time, I would only focus on the one we do know about.
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  #14   ^
Old Mon, Nov-06-06, 13:33
AL W AL W is offline
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Plan: Protein Power, Atkins
Stats: 282/248/220 Male 6'4"
BF:30%/26%/10%
Progress: 55%
Location: Ontario
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jande2211
That's a jump. Provide evidence and then it can be considered. As no other complaints have been recognized in the press at this time, I would only focus on the one we do know about.


You're right. Jumping to conclusions with out all the facts is a great way to go.
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