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Healthy Police Officers Are Cost-Effective Police Officers (From Police Management Today, P 201-206, 1985, James J Fyfe, ed. - See NCJ-97876)

NCJ Number
T L Ellis; R A Bailey
Date Published
6 pages
This article describes the mandatory physical fitness program instituted by the Monterey, Police Department (California) as a response to unacceptably high injury and disability rates among its officers.
The program provides for a medical evaluation system, preemployment and annual incumbent fitness testing, and professional fitness counseling. When the physical fitness problem was first identified in 1980, the department involved rank and file officers in developing a solution from the very beginning. The first step was to identify the physical skills and abilities necessary to perform the job of police officer. Next, a consultant was hired to develop fitness standards and tests for prospective and incumbent employees. Prior to employment, a new officer must sign a statement acknowledging that maintaining the city's fitness standards is a bona fide condition of employment. Officers who do not meet the target scores for their age group in any test event are required to work with a fitness counselor to correct the problem. Failure to meet minimum standards within a reasonable period of time may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. For incumbents employed before the addition of the program, disciplinary action will not be used when the officers have demonstrated substantial effort and reasonable progress. The police worked with a local hospital to develop a medical testing program which established a time-phased set of periodic physical exams based on age. The largest initial cost was the medical testing equipment, but this is a nominal when compared to the city's investment and financial responsibilities associated with each officer. Arrangements were made with a local high school next door to police headquarters to make its weight and exercise facilities available to officers on a 24-hour-a-day basic. Reaction within the department so far has been positive and supportive. The test used to screen applicants for the counseling position is included.