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Fitness from the top down

Published October 7, 2003

Tampa police Chief Steve Hogue, on the job about two weeks, wants every member of the force - including the bosses - to take a physical agility test. The directive, he says, is about equity more than any concern that management is too soft. He does believe fitness is a requirement for any police officer. The Times asked the 55-year-old Hogue about his own fitness and health habits.

What do you do daily to stay in shape?

Up until about a month ago I was running 20 miles a week. I've been so busy that I haven't done anything. I need to find some time to get back at it. It keeps my heart rate down, and it keeps my blood pressure reasonable.

Has your fitness routine changed as you aged or worked more at a desk?

The older I get, it takes more; it's a little more difficult to get out there and get your run in. When you're 21, you're physically fit just by breathing. When you're 55, you've really got to work at it.

Why did you make physical fitness one of your first directives as chief?

That's a misnomer. I made leadership and standards the first thing. We were doing the fitness part through the rank of lieutenant, but they had exempted the captains and majors and chief. We all have the responsibility of every police officer, and that includes having to run down the criminal if that's what it takes.

Police officers ride in cars and use computers. Why is it important they still stay fit?

I'm not saying the physical part of police work is anything like it is on television, but officers still have to get out and chase someone, and there's always someone who's going to want to push and shove an officer.

So do you do anything besides run?

I used to golf once a week.

What have you tried and just couldn't stand?

I have a treadmill. But I'll tell you, I really don't like running on the treadmill.

Do you watch what you eat?

My metabolism slows down as I get older and I just have to be more careful. I can vary 10 pounds up or down. (When I gain) I cut down on portions. I don't like white rice. I don't eat a lot of potatoes. I try not to eat simple carbohydrates.

What do you like to eat?

I love salads. I'll eat salad for dinner maybe three nights a week.

What do you eat that you shouldn't?

I really do like ice cream with an ounce of Kahlua over the top of it. But I hardly ever, ever eat it. I can't remember the last time I had ice cream.

Do you like doughnuts?

I like doughnuts. I just don't eat them. Coffee, that's my vice. I drink a pot a day. I try to drink decaf.

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