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      Brownsville police officers shape up

      While many have been indulging in holiday treats and eats, some Brownsville police officers have been burning calories at the police station's new, fully equipped gym.The gym is just the first step in Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez TMs plan to get all of his officers lean and trim, and most importantly healthy.He's working on a new department physical fitness policy."Being physically fit is important for a lot of reasons, Rodriguez said. It helps with the officer TMs ability to do his or her job on the field, it helps them cope with stress and be healthier."Det. Adrian Zarate won't have a problem abiding by that policy and supports the chief's initiative.He TMs been with the department for 8 years and said working out has been part of his daily routine since his school days, and it's paid off on the field."Out on patrol it TMs helped me a lot especially on foot pursuits, Zarate said. We (have) a lot of those while on patrol (and sometimes) we (have) to chase down the suspect. The weight training actually helped in apprehending the suspect."Rodriguez said the department currently has no fitness job requirements in place, other than passing a general doctor's physical exam.He's considering putting in place a height to weight ratio, or body fat composition standard.Officers would be allowed time during their shift to work out, in order to help achieve these goals.These small changes, Rodriguez said, could make a big difference for the department.

      "(Being physically fit), also translates to confidence in the officer for himself or herself and in the community to have that same confidence (in their officers), Rodriguez said. Officers will do it, it's going to encourage their family to do it, City employees are doing it and we're encouraging the community to do it."

      Rodriguez said officers will be given time to make the transition and meet the health and fitness requirements if the policy is implemented.