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      Brownsville Officers tested for fitness

      The Brownsville Police department held its first fitness test to encourage officers to stay fit to increase performance.

      The Brownsville police chief said the officers that were tested have all been randomly selected.

      This week 150 Brownsville police officers are being tested on their overall fitness.

      Chief Orlando Rodriguez said a new and improved fitness program has been on his to-do list since last year, "It TMs something we're really excited about, something we feel is long overdue."

      He said once officers leave the academy the focus is on academics rather than on fitness.

      He hopes to change that by providing his police force with a 24-hour gym and trainers to give nutritional and fitness recommendations.

      "A fit officer will be more alert and if he or she gets into some situation they may be able to perform better," Rodriguez said.

      Police officers respond to different situations in different environments so they have to be prepared for the unexpected.

      "The officers have to perform at an optimum level for themselves. Sometimes backups may not be close by so the officers have to be able to meet the challenges that they face day in and day out," said the police chief.

      Chief Rodriguez told Action 4 News the fit test does not hand out a pass or fail grades, but it does give those in the line of duty guidance and recommendations on how to reach their ideal fitness levels. "The officers have that expectation, fellow officers depend on their officers to be able to defend them and protect them, and finally the community expects it and deserves it as well," said Rodriguez.

      The chief said the point of this fit test is to gauge the fitness level of the officers currently on the police force.

      It sees their progress and where they will be at in the next six months.

      Chief Rodriguez said officers can be questioned about fitness for duty, but he is implementing this fitness program to avoid that.

      He wants to instead work with officers to achieve the levels of fitness they ARE expected to meet.