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Fatigue, Stress and Physical Fitness

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 47 Issue: 9 Dated: September 1999 Pages: 72-76
Hugh Tate
Date Published
September 1999
5 pages
Police special team leaders and trainers have long recognized the elements of fatigue, stress, and physical fitness, individually or in combination, as important test values in the selection and training of new police personnel.
The selection and training of police personnel has been based in part on the ability to make decisions and clear observations and to complete complex tasks while outside their comfort zone. More recently, however, law enforcement has relied more on specialized equipment to achieve tactical goals and the human factor has become somewhat secondary to computer age solutions. Training for police special forces is now often designed to make police officers understand that there are limits to overall performance and that performance levels can decline with regard to motor skills, visual acuity, and the ability to assess information. Understanding performance limitations is important in reducing their impact while on an actual assignment. Police special teams should realize overall performance limitations are closely linked to the degree of severity in the personnel selection process and the frequency at which fatigue-influenced training is conducted and evaluated. In addition, police special teams should be able to complete difficult operations and achieve tactical goals following complex rules of engagement. Physical fitness is a significant consideration in the context of fatigue; being physically fit can have a direct influence on fatigue resistance and provide a foundation for performance enhancement in the field. 2 photographs