NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association is suing over a new policy that states officers with larger waistlines can lose their job.
The union said under the new policy, men’s waists can’t measure larger than 40 inches. And for women, the max is 35 inches.
DPS Troopers who don’t meet the new standards for belly size face serious repercussions, including termination, even if they pass all other required parts of the Department’s physical fitness testing and despite their proficiency to do the job, according to the DPSOA.
It’s part of the agency’s physical fitness test, but some officers argue it’s discriminatory.
“Not only is this policy demeaning, it is damaging to our troopers and to our citizens,” said DPSOA President Richard Jankovsky. “Not all physically fit troopers are of the same body type, the same height or the same genetic makeup. Troopers have been subject to fitness standards for more than a decade. The new standards have moved beyond testing for fitness needed to perform one’s duty as an officer into an appearance policy that has little bearing on an officer’s ability to keep Texans safe.”
For example, a physically fit, 230 pound, 6 foot, 2 inch male trooper with two decades of experience may have a waist size of 41 inches due to his large build. He would potentially be removed from duty, taking an experienced law enforcement presence off the streets.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by DPSOA in a Travis County District Court, asked the Court to put the policy on hold until its legality can be determined.
Thus far, DPS has not commented on the lawsuit.