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Should Police Officers Be Required To Maintain Physical Fitness Standards?

1011 words - 5 pages

Criminal Justice Policy Implications
For the argument against police officers maintaining physical fitness standards, the policy implications are minimal. Law enforcement officers and police departments would continue their work as normal. However, there are some policy implications for requiring police officers to maintain some level of physical fitness. The policy implications would differ depending on the route that the police departments would take, either monetary compensation for officers to exercise outside of their normal work hours or organizational physical training sessions during normal work hours. Nevertheless, there are certain implications that would be universal to ...view middle of the document...

related Police departments need to enforce these standards with either one or both of the following recommendations; annual qualifications and incentives based upon individual physical fitness level.
The new police officer physical fitness should include both of the following; a comprehensive body fitness test and a specific job-related fitness test. For the comprehensive body fitness test, police departments should simply use the Cooper Institutes test that several police academies currently employs in various states. This test include one minute of sit-ups, one minute of push-ups, a timed one and a half mile run, and a 400 meter sprint. (Cooper Institute) This test, if administered correctly, can accurately gauge a police officer's abdominal, chest, and leg muscle strength and their cardiovascular endurance. In addition to the comprehensive body fitness test, police departments should also employ a timed obstacle course that realistically reflects the physical barriers that they are likely to encounter while with that police department. While each police department protects different areas and terrain, each obstacle course should have, at a minimum, each of the following aspects; fence climbing, stair climbing, carrying a victim to safety, and subduing a fleeing suspect all while wearing the equipment they wear while they are patrolling. (Collingwood et al., 2004)
When implementing these recommendations, police departments should have their police officers tested in this fashion annually, to ensure that their officers are maintaining their physical fitness levels. Furthermore, police departments should incorporate an intensives program alongside of their fitness program. These incentives can either be monetary, with bonuses based upon their score on the two fitness tests, or organizationally, such as getting the more desirable shifts at the department. With monetary incentives police department could use the money they would save from paying officers early retirement and compensation based upon obesity related health issues, such as heart disease. Nevertheless, police departments should offer a period of six months of notice so that officers who do not meet these new standards can get into better shape.
While maintaining physical fitness standards among police officers has its weaknesses, the benefits far outweighs the negatives. Depending on the police department,...

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