SHERIFF'S GOAL: A FIT FORCE; Sheriff's Office Takes on Battle of the Bulge Weight Loss, Annual Physical Emphasized

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Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL

A fit force is an effective force, and it's become a new goal for Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler.

"I want to get the fitness level up," Beseler said after a health fair at his Green Cove Springs office last week.

Employees were encouraged to attend the event, which offered health checks for such things as blood pressure, diabetes, body fat, hearing and glaucoma screenings, as well as information on secondhand smoke and a foot analysis.

Health care workers from Orange Park Medical Center, Pulmonary and Critical Care Associates, Metabolic Weight Loss Clinics and Monahan Chiropractic Medical Clinics were among the 14 providers at the five-hour event in the Sheriff's Office training room.

Figures show 103 employees attended, with 65 signing up for the weight-loss challenge. The person who loses the most weight during the next six months will win a cruise for two for four days and three nights. The person who loses the most body fat will be rewarded with a prize too.

While Beseler wants all his employees to be healthy, the challenge comes just prior to the department's annual physical agility test, in which sworn officers must meet certain physical standards. While the tests have been done for years, no sanctions had been imposed for not making the grade, Beseler said.

"I'm going to require them to pass both [firearms and physical recertifications]," the sheriff said. …