As the Ohio Highway Patrol’s green footprint is getting fainter, its law-enforcement union is fighting for troopers’ footprints to be as heavy as they’d like.

In contract negotiations with the state, the National Troopers Coalition is pushing to nix a rule that allows for termination if troopers get too pudgy. You’d think they’d be trying to get rid of those goofy drill-instructors’ hats, but no.

The state maintains that no troopers have been let go in recent years, but six got canned in ’03 and about a dozen have gotten reprimands just this year. Already, the state gives incentive pay to troopers who meet the standards; the union thinks that should be incentive enough. Those who fail the tests now are relegated to seeing motorists mouth the word “pig” every time they squeeze themselves from the cruiser. Shouldn’t that be enough? The state doesn’t seem to think so, but it’s too soon to tell.

OHP Sgt. Karla Taulbee said she can’t discuss negotiation matters. A spokesman for the NTC couldn’t return our calls — no reception at the donut shop? — Dan Harkins

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