Trooper's weight could cost him his job

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper has one week to lose 68 pounds or he'll be suspended from his job.

Trooper Neil Hedrick of the patrol's Massillon post said that he's tried weight-loss programs, herbs, acupuncture and diet pills to try to get down to 212 pounds -- the maximum weight limit set by the patrol.

The 45-year-old Hedrick told the Canton Repository that he would lose some of the weight he needed to, then would gain it back.

Hedrick said that the weight limit is unfair because his size doesn't affect how he does his job. He was the district's Trooper of the Year in 1995 and has won awards for pistol shooting.

Patrol spokesman Lieutenant Gary Lewis said that Hedrick was told two years ago to lose weight and already has been given a three-month extension.

If Hedrick can't slim down in a year, he'll lose his job and will get 75 percent of his pension because he'd be 15 months short of full retirement.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)