Loose Lips

Marion Barry: D.C. Cops Need To Get in Better Shape

Former mayor-for-life and Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry has some advice for D.C.'s police officers: get in shape.

After getting breakfast from a store near his new house on Talbert Street SE, Barry says he was on the phone in his car he witnessed a "rather plump" Metropolitan Police Department officer chasing a suspect. Barry doesn't know why police were chasing the guy, whom Barry had just seen a few minutes earlier in the very store where he'd bought his breakfast. (Barry says he doesn't know the name of the store, but called it a "community store.")

Barry says the oversized police officer "couldn't even come close to catching this guy," and believes the suspect made a clean getaway. Another witness, who asked not to be identified, saw the foot chase, and also described one of the pursing officers as overweight.

"They need to get in better shape," Barry says of D.C.'s finest.

Interestingly enough, the D.C. Council is set to consider a bill tomorrow that critics say could weaken physical fitness standards for MPD officers. The Omnibus Criminal Code Amendments Act of 2012l would transfer the power to set minimum physical fitness standards for police officers from the Police Officer Standards and Training Board to the police chief. The proposed legislation would only allow the POST board to make "recommendations" to the chief as to what the physical fitness levels will be, "which would allow the chief to relax those standards, in her or his discretion, below the minimum standards that the board believes should be required," says the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is advocating for several changes with the omnibus bill, which they say unwisely guts many of the POST board's powers.

A spokeswoman for the police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the current status of physical fitness limits for MPD officers. Police union boss Kris Baumann says the only physical fitness minimums an MPD officer has to meet are when they are first hired, and there are no ongoing benchmarks to meet once they are on the force.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • ToTheContrary

    I too have observed a dramatic increase in officers that are a bit too heavy abouts the waist.

  • Typical DC BS

    What, tell me the union doesn't care that there are no standards for cops to be in good physical condition? Why, next thing you know, they'll be telling the officers that arrests are optional as well!

  • http://DCCityPaper Tee Wms

    Marion Barrys comment on the oversized Polic Officer.

    The only way to resolve this matter is to keep the police officers out of the 7-11, eating donuts and drinking coffee all day long. Every 7-11 always has a polic car parked in their parking lot.

  • Mike

    This is news to people??? There is a certain percentage of the cops that are in good physical condition and there is a greater percentage that are not. And more likely than not, those who are in bad shape, don't involve themselves in any police work. They play hide and seek with the bad guys and the only time they run is from when that dangerous thing called WORK approaches them. They sure run when they see WORK.

  • nowaitadaminit

    Well at least the popo tried.
    He could have just looked the other way and avoided all of this useless jibbering.

    Those officers come out of their homes every morning not knowing whether or not they will encounter the first responder nightmare situation in Connecticut, or even worse, whether or not they will be victims of the crime they encounter on a daily basis.

    Let's give praise to the members of MPD and FEMS and all of the others who put their lives on the line for us each and everyday. I doubt that Marion Barry was denigrating the officer. He was just making an observation. Besides if he legislates a weight loss, it will be in the best interest of whomever loses it.

  • First Due

    Barry needs to take his a*% somewhere and retire. We need more cops that are physically fit just like we need more Council members who are not ethically challenged. Can we all say Term limits.
    BTW I'm African American also who grew up in SE.

  • name

    Hell, have the population of SE is overweight and has the sugar. Skinny cops can catch the skinny perps and fat cops can catch the fatso perps. Problem solved.

    Besides, I don't want cops running down perps anyway. They're going to trip and we're going to have to pay for them to sit at a desk and get fatter.

  • RealDC

    LOL. Don't just start with the cops, look at the all of the city agencies, the school chancellor, DMV, OTR, DCRA, DPW, etc. I have not seen a parking ticket writer under 250 lbs.

    The city needs to go on the Biggest Loser!!

  • Ward-8

    If they relax the standard I am not a sexist however,it appears to be geared to accomadate women, take a good look at the large percentage of women officers, there are some overweight men however I bet you will find far more overweight women, I have seen some who probually could not run the length of a Police car and they are out patroling, foot chase, forget it, the crook gets away by just walking fast.

  • john

    Thats why they call them pigs. Oink Oink

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich


    I've seen many obsese or overweight police officers in D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and in Baltimore. There should be a requirement for police officers to stay in shape, particularly for health reasons. Most of us watch too much television with cop shows where the male officers are muscular in shape and the females are attractive with tone bodies. In the real world, most police officers doesn't look like this.

    In closing, I hope we never have a Zombee attack in the Nations Capital because many MPD officers are overweight and out of shape. They wouldn't be able to run from the Zombees and protect the citizenry. LOL

    This goes to show, I watch too much Syfy television.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich


    The U.S. is becoming a country of fat or overweight people. Black women have a high precentage of obesity than white women and other ethnic groups.

    Take a ride to one of the buffets after church on Sunday and you will see many overweight black women eating and going back for seconds and thirds. I see them getting those good old fish sandwiches here at Daddy Grace on Fridays at lunch time. Obesity is not a laughing matter. Do you guys remember the actress in the movie 'Precisous'? Well I have family members that look like this and I've shared my concerns about their health and their being overweight. Most got angry or their feelings were hurt. I just keep my mouth shut and no longer say anything about a relative's weight.

  • Truth hurts

    At least the dude tried. Wonder whether he could've caught Barry in a foot chase.

  • RealDC

    @daddygracefishsandwich- You are right. Sad but true!

    These over weight folks with tattoos, thongs, low riding pants and wife beaters are a helluva sight.
    It gets hard when the kids have a point scoring game for thong, butt crack and tattoo sightings. Yes, this behavior is discouraged but you would have to blindfold them to avoid these sights, seriously.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    RealDC, obesity is a serious condition because most in society love to cook, eat, and not excercise, including me. However, we can't have police officers trying to capture thugs looking like Precious or Big Shirly from 'What's Happening'. Better yet looking like Sherman from from the movie 'Nutty Professor'. I saw a police officer once and she had to be over 300 pounds. I haven't noticed any overweight police officers in Montgomery County, not to say there aren't any. Take a look at Precious pictures. Many D.C. taxpayers and residents agree, we have too many fat out of shape MPD officers. Sometimes the truth hurts. I too may be out of shape, however, I am not a police officer.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich


    Big Shirley from 'What's Happening'.

  • noodlez




  • Lester

    Hercules! Hercules!

  • light as a rock

    what people don't realize is that when you can't run to apprehend a criminal, you're more apt to shoot to slow him/her down. That's just the way it is.

  • Tired of Corruption

    It is no better in Prince George's County. If you want a cop over here, go to Chik-Fil-A, Golden Corral, any Chinese buffet, Wegman's or most restaurants. The cops over here are always eating somewhere. You know it's sad when Fed Ex and armored cars get held up but cops didn't see anything.

    They need some PT in DC and PG!!

  • Tired of Corruption

    Real DC, if they take the drivers away from fat agency heads, they will lose weight. You are not wrong with those observations.

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  • drez

    This coming from a man whose liver and kidneys are shot from decades of substance abuse, and who walks feebly himself.

  • Tired of Complaining

    Cops are not required to run after anyone lol. They do it to try to catch the criminal. Yet people have this sense of entitlement to rant about stuff that isn't of any importance. Get a life people!


    Wow; the comments here are interesting.

    Look at the comments to Marion Barry's statement of overweight MPD police officers on ABC7 News website. However, I don't like Marion Barry because he's a race baiter, but on this issue, he's correct.


  • travis

    When you look at a DC police officers salary i wonder how they could ever afford to get fat...

  • michelle jones

    There are some extremely racist white folks in DC. There are very bad black leaders in DC as well.

    Damn shame that a place that is suppose to stand for justice is so inhumane.

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  • nowaitadaminit

    Will somebody please let Marion Barry stick his feeble walking size 12 shoe right up Drez' ass? WTF does that man's personal physical condition have to do with his concerns about the condition of a cadre of men and women whose jobs require them to be fit as a fiddle for their own sake as well as for the public they're sworn to protect?

  • Drez

    There's a lot of humanity here, too.
    Look for it and see. People tend to find what they look for.

  • A few

    Lets take Maryland State Troopers or even Capitol and Park Police. Not only does that department ALLOW their officers to work-out for an hour WHILE ON DUTY, they recommend it.
    And Police Officers are always out eating.....so what other people don't go out and eat on their lunch break? Or run downstairs to CVS while at their desks? Oh..okay.
    Be happy that MPD is actually taking care of the "citizens" in DC.....
    Crackhead Barry wants to talk about weight....TALK ABOUT HOW THE CITIES FIRST RESPONDERS IN THE NATIONS CAPITOL HAS NOT GOTTEN A RAISE IN OVER 6 YEARS! That's real news nimwits!!!

  • Typical DC BS

    If they haven't gotten a raise in 6 years, they ought to be getting skinnier. Obviously, they haven't cut back on food expenses.

  • sure u right

    I agree too many DC Police Officers hang out in the 7/11 stores. My question is why.......i hate to even go to the 7/11 on H street N.E. near 8th and H my next move is to start taking pictures. How can 9-12 officers be in one store on most mornings betwen 7:15am - 8:00am what they dont have enough work? These are both black and white officers male and female. What a waste of our tax dollars and most are fat and out of shape. Get a left and do some damn work please......they also hang out at the 7/11 on Blandensburg RD N.E. as well playing the damn lottery.....what the hell

  • Dan GA

    Well, at least Barry didn't say the plump officer was eating food from one of those dirty stores run by Asians.

  • southeast lady

    To: ALL

    Stress can make you eat too. However, if you are stressed eat an apple, garden salad, or any piece of fruit or vegetable; not chicken wings, popeye chicken, or other such greasy foods. Drink some juice.
    Many police officers I see around DC are huge--this does not make for a strong, protective person. This type of bulk makes for a weak, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetic-prone individual who can run or chase a crook. Get it!

  • southeast lady

    To: ALL

    Correction to last sentence: diabetic-prone individual who cannot run or chase a crook...

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  • southeast lady

    Travis: Just like everyone else needs to live within their means, so should the policemen. Maybe, just maybe all companies and agencies should set up budget management seminars. I am very serious here because as a retired federal government employee, I wish I had known how to set up a budget, look at interest rates on credit cards and other ways of managing my money.