TMPA Supports DPSOA's Lawsuit Against Discriminatory New Policy
AUSTIN, Texas -- Today, the Texas Municipal Police Association announces its strong support for the lawsuit filed by the Department of Public Safety Officers Association (DPSOA) against the new "vanity" waistline policy instituted by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
While Texas Government Code 614.172 requires that state law enforcement agencies in Texas adopt a mandatory physical fitness program for its officers, Texas law also requires the standards of such a program to "directly related to the officer's job duties" and all standards must be developed with the "services of a consultant".
If an officer is not in compliance with the fitness standards of their agency they may be punished, including termination.
At a time when our state and nation is at a crisis point for recruitment of new officers and retention of our current officers, it is inexcusable and unconscionable for the Texas Department of Public Safety to be instituting a policy that risks further losses of highly-qualified, well-trained officers and further jeopardizes public safety.
The Texas Department of Public Safety's new "waistline" requirements (no larger than forty inches for men and thirty-five inches for women) are absolutely specious in their relationship to an officer's physical fitness for duty and were not created through partnership with officers or a consultant, as required by law.
Furthermore, it has become clear that, in addition to this new policy, the majority of current fitness standards utilized by DPS have been instituted without respect for the requirement in state law that they be done with the services of a consultant.
In 2006, DPS hired a consultant--Fitness Intervention Technologies--to study and develop job-related physical fitness standards for commissioned officers. Quickly thereafter, beginning in 2007, DPS began modifying these validated, legal standards without proper outside consultation. This vanity policy being just the latest example.
Law enforcement officers, like all people, come in all shapes and sizes. A "one size fits all" approach by DPS is foolish and short-sighted. This new policy could end the career of officers who pass all other fitness requirements that actually relate to their job duties and have immaculate records of service.
TMPA stands with DPSOA and all law enforcement officers affected.