Fitness benefits the officer, the agency, and society as a whole.
Mandatory Bi-Annual Physical Fitness Testing
By: Jevon Thompson
Maintaining fitness and health for public safety officers is essential. Public safety officers should be required to pass a mandatory bi-annual physical fitness test, in order to prove they are healthy enough to perform job-related tasks. Without a mandatory fitness test, it cannot be determined if public safety officers are healthy enough for duty.
The aim of this capstone is to influence police training commissions, public safety directors, fraternal order of police leaders, public administrators, legal counsels, and legislatures to develop policy for mandatory physical fitness programs at the federal, state, and local level.
Test to Certify
The purpose of mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests is to certify that officers are able to perform job-related tasks. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests are administered twice annually and measure the officer’s ability to perform job-related tasks. Physical fitness tests must have content validity and be reflective of job-related physical tasks.
Public safety administrators must take the issue of physical fitness and officer safety seriously. The officer’s survival during an aggressive encounter literally depends on good health and fitness. There is a relationship between fitness and job performance. Therefore, it is essential that public safety officers be physically tested twice annually to assess their ability to perform job-related tasks. The officer’s life and career depend on it.
Poor physical fitness is an officer safety issue that must be rectified. Mandatory physical fitness tests assist with reducing poor physical fitness. Safety must be made a priority. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests will identify officers who are a safety liability and health risk. Public safety officers that do not meet physical standards should consider occupations that do not require employees to be physically fit.
All members of public safety organizations deserve qualified officers who are able to provide excellent services without health concerns. Maintaining adequate physical fitness also reduces injury, medical leave, and minimizes liability lawsuits. This is beneficial for the public safety officer and his/her association.
It is imperative that mandatory bi-annual physical fitness programs be adopted by all public safety organizations nationwide, at the federal, state, local and tribal level. Public safety administrators must consider various options when selecting an appropriate physical-fitness training program. Trial fitness programs are ideal. Trial fitness programs will provide critical information if adjustments and improvements need to occur.
Public safety administrators who want to implement a physical fitness program must use collaboration, networking, performance measurement, team-building, and shared vision to achieve goals. It is essential that mandatory physical fitness programs are measured to determine the validity and reliability. This is beneficial for the officer and agency. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests will identify officers who are a safety liability and health risk.
Fitness and Obesity
It is essential that all public safety officers be in excellent physical condition in order to stay healthy and perform job-related tasks. Mandatory physical fitness tests set the stage for officers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being fit for duty is not an option but essential. Incorporating high-intensity interval and compound multi-planar movements into a fitness regimen improve their physical capabilities.
Mandatory physical fitness testing will require the officer to prove they are able to walk, run, climb, jump, squat, leap, stretch, bend, twist, lift, carry, drag, and push. Moderate weight training and aerobic exercise may be appropriate to accomplish these tasks. Also, officers must monitor their cardiovascular health. Maintaining physical fitness will help reduce heart disease, which is the number one killer of law enforcement officers.
Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests are beneficial in terms of obesity reduction. The fastest way to curb the obesity problem among officers nationwide is to implement weight standards. Choosing a weight standard for officers to keep will eliminate overweight officers. Therefore, staying in excellent physical condition is essential. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests benefit the officer by keeping them accountable.
Mandatory annual physical fitness tests are useful to the officer for mental health purposes. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests will assess the officer’s mood during strenuous activity. It is imperative that peace officers remain in a stable mood while on duty. There is a relationship between physical activity and mood. Some officers suffer silently with mental health issues with fears of seeking professional services. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests allow the fitness instructors to monitor signs of mental health problems and assist the officer with pursuing appropriate treatment.
Seeking appropriate treatment is helpful in order for the officer to reduce distractions. Although there is no singular strategy to resolve mental health issues, seeking guidance from a mental health professional is wise. Mandatory physical fitness test is a starting point to begin the discussion of wellness. Public safety administrators must obtain the appropriate training in order to get fresh ideas and strategies. Also, public safety administrators must use collaboration strategies to determine if their suggestions are useful.
Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests serve as a coping strategy. Exercise reduces clinical depression and anxiety. Exercise is an excellent coping strategy. Exercise releases neurotransmitters and endorphins. Exercise also reduces immune system chemicals and increases body temperature, which has relaxing properties. For example, some tests are designed to enhance anaerobic power, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, abdominal endurance, and leg explosive power. These exercises disseminate good chemicals that cause the officer to feel mentally empowered.
Mandatory fitness tests increase confidence, focus and precision. Officers must feel confident internally to reduce the chances of clinical depression. Exercise is a tool that can increase self-esteem. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests will assist with stabilizing emotions, mood and inner confidence. Officer confidence is essential when making tough decisions concerning protecting life and property.
Internal confidence places the officer in the proper mind frame to serve the community. Physical fitness contributes to this. Public safety administrators must strategize and develop new ideas that will increase inner confidence. Officers who feel better physically are able to take on new challenges and strengthen the organization’s reputation. Mandating physical fitness tests must be considered.
Benefits for Agencies
Public safety organizations benefit from having a mandatory bi-annual physical fitness program. The long-term financial benefit is worthwhile. Public safety organizations also pay unexpected healthcare cost related to officer injury, sickness and disease. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests assist with reducing healthcare cost at the federal, state and local, level. Monitoring health trends can reduce financial expenses and save money.
The aim is to find solutions to reduce workers compensation claims and maintain a healthy organization. Long-term financial savings may open new, innovative opportunities to reduce injury, reduce debt, allocate resources, and develop mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests nationwide.
Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests assist with establishing a high retention rate and reducing absenteeism. High absenteeism rates are expensive and can disrupt public safety operations. Also, mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests reduce liability and injury. Careless mistakes from out-of-shape officers can cost their agencies millions of dollars in lawsuits and legal expenses. Mandatory bi-annual physical fitness tests will help identify officers who are a departmental liability.
Preventable health risks must be explored by public safety administrators. Risks include poor diet, alcoholism, drugs, smoking, obesity, stress, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Public safety administrators must use standard communication including electronic mail, memorandums, records, and forms to communicate information to their employees concerning health and safety. There must be clarity in the communication process. These strategies lead to beneficial outcomes for public safety organizations.
Public safety officers and their organizations are watched carefully by the national and the international community. It is essential that officers maintain an acceptable level of fitness to avoid sharp criticisms in the area of fitness and health. Being in excellent physical condition shows society that sworn officers take their jobs seriously on and off duty. Public safety organizations must be exceptional in service and physically fit for duty.
Gaining respect from the national and the international community is beneficial in terms of community policing, solving crimes, building partnerships, community participation, and external relations. Public safety organizations that promote health and wellness send positive messages. Public safety administrators must monitor national health trends in order to provide officers with current information concerning physical fitness and health.
Public safety officers must be above reproach and set the standard of goodness, morals and values. Changing the stereotypical culture of corruption is a key component in order to satisfy the general community. There must be a joint effort between community leaders, civil rights organizations, religious institutions, and the political system to achieve goals. There must be a national movement to convey the message of respect and change. In all, the main goal for public safety organizations is to ensure officer safety and provide exceptional services.
Originally from Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Jevon Thompson is a nine-year veteran police officer. His training and experience has given him a clear insight on public safety and health issues. His commitment to health and wellness is an essential factor in order for him to provide excellent community services. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.