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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201148 Find in a Library
Title: Need for Physical Fitness
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:6  Dated:June 2003  Pages:44,46,48-49,50
Author(s): Thomas Collingwood; Robert J. Hoffman; Jay Smith
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains the importance of having police officers trained to comply with physical fitness standards essential for the effective performance of tasks expected of an officer.
Abstract: Although most police officers will rarely be required to fire their guns, they are still expected to acquire and maintain the skill required to use their firearms responsibly and effectively should the occasion arise. This should also be the case for officers' physical fitness. Although officers may rarely be faced with tasks that require physical strength, endurance, and athletic agility, they must be prepared for those rare instances, sometimes involving life or death, when their level of physical fitness will determine the outcome of an incident. Unfortunately, standards of physical fitness have been lowered by many departments in an effort to hire women, many of whom cannot easily meet former standards for officer physical fitness. Any officer, regardless of gender or other physical qualifications, is expected by the public to be able to perform those tasks essential for public safety. The correction approach is to provide training that will bring all officers to the required level of physical fitness while supporting personnel diversity. Data trends from studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of incumbent female officers tested on critical physical tasks were unable to perform those tasks at an effective level; however, with proper training they were able to achieve the necessary levels of fitness, including upper body strength, and subsequently were able to perform those essential tasks at an effective level. Because of physiological differences from males, females may need to train longer and harder to increase their fitness to reach job-related levels. Likewise, officers must work harder to maintain a required fitness level as they age. The physical demands of policing do not change because of an officer's gender or age. Continual physical training is necessary for preparation to perform the essential physical functions of the job.
Main Term(s): Police physical fitness training
Index Term(s): Female police recruits; Female police training; Male female police performance comparisons
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