The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation released a new statistic, which states 8 out of every 10 law enforcement members are overweight.
Their findings have spurred the Garland Police Department make a plan for their officers to improve their fitness.
“I think it’s important for all of us to keep the weight down and stay in shape-especially this job. The stress that we incur at this job… this is a great way to relieve the stress and to keep the blood pressure down,” said Garland Assistant Chief Jeff Bryan.
Bryan said he spends most of his time at work behind a desk, but still hits the departments on-site gym three days a week.
Researchers have said law enforcement personnel are 25 times more likely to die from weight related cardiovascular disease than the actions of a criminal.
“When you’re in a life or death struggle, you’ve got to win that fight, said Bryan about the importance of keeping fit.
But an estimated 80 percent of law enforcement officers are overweight, according to the FBI.
“Do we have some that are overweight? Sure we do. But, not to that percentage,” said Garland police spokesperson Joe Harn.
He said their department works to cultivate a culture of fitness for many reasons.
“Somebody that did a full career in law enforcement? Average age was 60 — that’s when they died, at 60 years old. So what we found out is if we’re going to improve and overcome that stress, we’ve got to stay in shape, we’ve got to control our weight if we want to live longer,” said Harns.
A number of local law enforcement agencies provide on-site gyms to encourage lifelong physical fitness but admit that beyond the academy, there are no formal policies in place.