A Federal Bureau of Investigation study found that 8 out of every 10 law enforcement members are overweight. 13WMAZ found out that many police departments in Central Georgia don't require regular workouts. Our Madison Cavalchire went to one local department that's encouraging first responders to get fit.
The law enforcement lifestyle can come with a heavy price.
"We work 12-hour shifts and sometimes those 12 hours can turn into 16 hours," said Perry Police Sergeant Jeff Keenom.
Keenom says those 16 hours can leave no room for workouts and too much room for fast food.
"There are no official requirements for us to workout or keep-up a PT test," Keenom said. "There is a PT requirement when you are hired on."
Even though there's no requirement, Keenom says a new gym is now encouraging first responders in Perry to get, or stay, in shape.
Last year, the city allowed the police and fire departments to transform the old Jaycees building into a fitness center. Keenom says most of the equipment was donated.
He says the new space has been spurring healthier habits outside of the gym too.
"They're not hitting drive-thrus during their shift which is a common thing with police officers," Keenom said. "A lot of them are bringing their lunches, or they're trying to make healthier choices with what they eat."
Lieutenant Jack Johnson says he started asking the officers on his shift to workout together, one even losing about 50 pounds since December.
"The first thing you see is that Officer getting out of their car," Johnson said. "It makes a difference whether they appear to be in shape or out of shape. It's just perception is reality."
Both Johnson and Keenom say, feeling good at the gym, helps them do even more good in the community.
13WMAZ reached out to other departments to find out what their policies are.
Warner Robins and Byron Police Departments don't require officers to log regular fitness hours, and neither do Bibb, Houston, or Monroe County Sheriff's Offices.