A former Bellevue police officer fired for being overweight could be back patrolling the streets in a few months.
The Nebraska Court of Appeals, in an opinion released Tuesday, reversed the Bellevue Civil Service Commission’s decision upholding the termination of Christopher D. Parent.
Parent, 52, had been a member of the Police Department for more than 25 years, mostly as a detective, but had been reassigned to road patrol. His firing stemmed from his performance during an Aug. 28 combat shooting exercise, which prompted fellow officers to report him to the command staff.
Parent was fired in 2007, after an internal investigation determined that he had not maintained a “high level of physical, mental and emotional conditioning.”
Bellevue Police Lt. Mark Elbert has said Parent, whose 2005-issued Nebraska driver’s license listed him at 5-foot-9 and 300 pounds, was fired under a policy that requires officers to be physically fit.
The court’s opinion states that under the Bellevue Police Department policy used to justify Parent’s firing, Parent satisfied the only objective standard imposed.
The court said he maintained “at least a ‘fair’ level of physical wellness pursuant to the standards contained within the . . . Department’s Wellness Program Manual.”