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Monday, November 06, 2006

The PC Machine Strikes Again

Police Chief fired for telling his officers to shape up

Winter Haven, FL police chief Paul Goward was fired for an email that he sent out to his department telling them that they need to lose weight. Unfortunately, his choice of wording in the subject line included the words "Jelly Belly", which hurt some of his officers little feelings. Now, he didn't actually single anyone out and only used an "offensive" name in the subject, but apparently the words struck awfully close to home for a few officers. It seems the department was looking to get rid of him anyway and this was a pathetic excuse for "the straw that broke the camel's back."

Part of the memo:

"Take a good look at yourself. 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."

I'm sure you don't have to think very hard to come up with a list of several overweight police officers that you know. It's also not too hard to imagine everyday situations that require an officer to be in good physical condition - they can't just shoot everyone with a taser. There is no question that a fit police force is a more effective police force. And if these poor fellows can't handle "jelly belly", what will they do when a criminal is calling them so many other names? Maybe they'll just cry.

I find the results of the poll telling however. 72% of respondents don't think the memo was inappropriate and 97% think he should not have been fired for such an offense. Obviously an Internet poll is not a representative sample (self-selection and all that jazz), but it does show that alot of people are not down with all the political correctness flying around these days. Maybe people realize that coddling the obese is not going to do anything to help them. We shouldn't make fun of them, but calling someone obese is not an insult, it's the truth. And doctors, police chiefs, and others should be able to inform people of the danger to their health and their community (especially in the case of police officers and firefighters).