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Chief Speaks Out Against Paid Gym Time for Officers

Chief Speaks Out Against Paid Gym Time for Officers

The Canadian Press via YellowBrix

January 19, 2010

WINNIPEG, Canada — Winnipeg’s police chief says he would rather have his police officers on the streets fighting crime than in the gym being paid to pump iron.

Police say paid workout time is becoming an issue across Canada as they increasingly face criminals coming out of jail bulked up and trained in mixed martial arts.

But Chief Keith McCaskill said paying officers to spend time in the gym would mean up to one-quarter fewer units out in the city, which has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

‘’We want to be physically fit and we encourage that, but our main job as police officers is to be able to provide the services necessary for the citizens we serve,’’ McCaskill said Wednesday.

‘’That means getting our officers out on the streets as much as we possibly can to be able to answer those calls.’’

It’s an issue that will likely be discussed in upcoming contract negotiations with the Winnipeg Police Association, he said.

Police forces in Calgary and Victoria – which operate on 12-hour shifts – get time during their workday for physical fitness. Other cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, say officers tend to exercise during their lunch break.

The RCMP collective agreement allows for one hour per week for physical fitness, but that time has to be made up either by coming in a bit early or leaving a bit late.

Charles Momy, president of the Canadian Police Association, said police put their bodies under a considerable amount of stress and need to be in shape.

‘’You are going from sitting in a police car to within potentially a second having your blood pressure go up significantly,’’ said Momy, adding that officers wear seven kilograms of equipment around their waist at all times.

’’That’s going to take a toll on a person’s body. You need an individual who is in pretty good shape.’’

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    so fisherda, you believe that an officer should be required to "live the job". Do you? If so, do you have a family? Do they ever see you? Do you care? If you don't have a family, with the same callings of family life, school, kid's extracurricula activities, house chores, etc, then keep it shut. Officers should be paid for the time they spend "sharpening the edge." I can tell you from experience that being bigger, stronger, and faster than the scum we all have to face has saved me numerous times. And no, I do not get paid to keep in shape, but it would be nice...and deserved. We all should. It is part of the job. pdyer is rigt...their should be some sort of incentive at the very least.

  • Canada-flag_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I know this all too well.....the excuse is that we need AS MANY officers on the street as possible. Especially since the crime in Winnipeg is really rampant right now, however, I agree with most comments below, officers need to be physically fit to defend themselves and the public. WPS do offer free gym memberships at any city facility and all Police stations do have a local gym but they are not in good shape. The expectation is officers have to work out on their own time.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    Is this Chief serious? The statistical and anecdotal evidence supporting the benefits of physical fitness for LEO's is overwhelming. PAY NOW OR PAY LATER IS EXACTLY RIGHT. I think the problem is that most administrations are betting on the chance that the bill won't come. But it does, in sick time, increased deviance and poor job performance, more complaints and an increase in the intensity of use of force incidents. For some officers the time on shift is the only chance they may get to work out.. Family and other responsibilities outside the job make it very difficult to get to the gym, if they can afford it. This job will destroy your body from the inside out if you let it. (Short sighted Chiefs are the main cause sometimes). Any money spent on keeping the officers as prepared as possible is well spent. In the end it's the patrolman on the the sharp end of the spear, and he oe she shouldn't have a dull edge.

  • Car6_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I don't think it's necessary to pay them to be physically fit, it should be up to the officer to stay fit. It's their responsibility to be able to perform their duties as described in the job description.

  • Academyrun_014_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Officers are required to do a tough job that places a great deal of stress on them. They often are in life and death fights with subjects who are younger and stronger. The Chief states that the officers are there too provide a service and should be out on the street. You can not provide that service if you are not physically able. I feel it is up to the officer to work out while off duty but also feel the department has an obligation to offer incentives for those that do, and also offer time while on duty to stay in good physical shape. It will save money for the department in many areas if they keep their most important asset, the patrol officer, in peak condition.

  • 480652284_1684588367_0_max50


    over 5 years ago


    You should be able to workout on your lunch break since if there were no workouts allowed you would still be off the streets during that break.

  • Norris-photo_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Staying in shape is part of the job. We need to be in shape because of the physical and mental demands of the job and because being in shape gives a good public image. I would love for my department to give us time to work out on duty, but as long as they do not tie being in shape with performance objectives, evals, pay, etc... then I can't complain and it is up to me to keep myself in shape for my own health and longevity. If the dept ties being in shape to performance objectives then I think they are obligated to give you time on duty to achieve that performance objective.

  • Me_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Here is a thought, take all the workout equipment from the jails and put it in the police stations. If the prisoners need something constructive to do then give them English lessons or teach them finger weaving. Maybe some nice kumi himo would help them relax.

  • Hard_badge_002_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Gotta squeeze that dime,inmates need better equiptment, so when they get out they can do more damage.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    But also on the other hand it gives incentive to be in better shape to handle more!! Not all criminals are fat and lazy! And I think that if we are required to hold a certain physical fitness level as newbies after a certain date...... ALL LEO should need to get in shape as well. I know it doesn't sound fair but if you cant pick yourself up then whats that mean for the people that are looking up to us to protect and serve them?!! And its better for your health!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    CBR I agree completely its ridiculous.... Why allow them to train with weights and in MMA you know in the back of their mind its not "Im learning my lesson I cant wait to go back to my family" its more like "these suckers wont be able to catch me when i get outta here"

  • P5300097_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Here is one thought take the weights out of the jails. I have never understood this send them to jail for a couple of years and allow them to lift weights and get into shape this does not make any sense at all.

  • 005_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Wow, I wish more police departments did this!! an out of shape officer is similar to an out of shape soldier.... it's not good!! I know there are cops who can out run me and look like they are slow, but being in shape is more vital that most realize!!

  • Snoopy_18_max50


    over 5 years ago


    How did you get to be chief? Obviously concern for Officers didn't get you there!!!!!

  • Img_20140823_202523_max50


    over 5 years ago


    1 hr per week? I do 1 hr in the gym warming up in one session 1 hr a week is weak!

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