A group of Los Angeles nurses has charged that Los Angeles police officials upped some of their recruiting numbers by accepting recruits with larger waistlines, the Los Angeles Times reports. The controversy stems from a decision by the city Personnel Department to change the standards for police recruits, including a move to raise the maximum body fat allowed for men to 24 percent from 22 percent, and for women to 32 percent from 30 percent. Body fat – the percentage of a person’s body that is not bone, muscle, organs or water – is measured using calipers applied to areas such as the waist, where fat can accumulate.
After addressing one recent academy class, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was overheard commenting on the expanded girth of some graduates. “My concern is we are getting police officers through the system who are grossly overweight,” said City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police sergeant who himself carries a few extra pounds nowadays. “I believe it is part of this mad rush for new police officers, but they were replacing quality with quantity.” On Friday, Deanna Stover, the medical administrator for the Personnel Department, resigned after nurses signed a letter protesting the clearing of recruits who were out of shape. Administrators said they would return to the old, tougher body-fat standards.