Fitness Within the Ranks week 3 discussion 2
Based on Overweight Officer Returned to Work and this week’s assigned readings, discuss the importance of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle as a law enforcement officer. In your discussion, address the following:
- Why is physical fitness important in a police officer’s development and subsequent career?
- What restrictions in training objectives would an overweight police officer encounter in weaponless self-defense and martial arts training within a police academy?
- What regulations are imposed on police agencies with regard to physical fitness requirements after completion of initial training?
- What civil liability, if any, does the agency face if an officer does not maintain a level of physical fitness required of a situation where significant injury or death occurs to a civilian or fellow officer as a direct result of the officer’s level of fitness?
Our discussion first individuals response, tell bad and good of post, list reference
Why is physical fitness important in a police officer’s development and subsequent career?
What we do is physically demanding. As the reading suggests, we can go from sitting down doing reports to chasing an offender through back yards, to physically fighting for our lives (O’Keefe, 2004, Pg. 144). The ability to do all of these activities without causing preventable major injuries is vital to risk management, but also to the longevity of our career, and therefore maximizing the investment the department has put into us as officers.
What restrictions in training objectives would an overweight police officer encounter in weaponless self-defense and martial arts training within a police academy?
From the video, the officer struggled with getting up and down from the floor (Blutube, n.d.). There are some excellent officers who struggle with bad knees, but are in otherwise good physical condition, so getting up and down from a kneeling position is difficult for them, but they do fine at everything else. I have seen this in my career as well. I work with an officer who has a weight problem, and if he drops something on the floor, he will kick it around until he can get to a position to reach down and get it. If there is a physical altercation, he simply is not able to participate, because he can’t.
What regulations are imposed on police agencies with regard to physical fitness requirements after completion of initial training?
In my state, it is left up to the individual agencies. However, many are adopting physical fitness requirements. My department started this several years ago for insurance purposes. Participation is mandatory, passing is not. We are required to do push ups, sit ups, jump, 300 meter run and mile and a half run. I can pass everything except the mile and a half run. The years have taken their toll on me as well. I agree there should be a physical standard and maintained, because of the worst case scenario- nobody wants to attend the funeral of the officer who was physically unable to defend himself in a fight.
What civil liability, if any, does the agency face if an officer does not maintain a level of physical fitness required of a situation where significant injury or death occurs to a civilian or fellow officer as a direct result of the officer’s level of fitness?
As I stated previously, my department participates in physical fitness because of insurance requirements. In order for our department to carry liability insurance, they must have an established and operating physical fitness program. Specific liabilities associated with this are: workers compensation issues due to preventable on the job injuries and heart attacks or diabetic issues in trainings and while operating a vehicle or in physical altercations. Further, the physical demands of this job requires us to be able to be there to provide lifesaving back up or be the life saver for civilians, and not just right next to our car. We need to be able to run, carry, lift, fight, push, pull, and support for long durations of time. If we cannot do this, we are a liability. I understand the embarrassment the officer in the video must feel, as well as the financial pinch of being out of a job, but honestly, what kind of backup is he going to provide on a house fire where a family is trapped inside? What about a foot pursuit and fight with a highly motivated assailant? It appeared as if the man spent two years fighting to get his job back, but didn’t do much to improve his condition. I think his fellow officers might have some strong feelings about that (and likely justifiably so).
(n.d.). Overweight officer returns to work [Video]. Retrieved from http://blutube.policeone.com/police-health-wellness-videos/935550285001-overweight-officer-returns-to-work/
O’Keefe, J. (2004). Protecting the republic: The education and training of American police officers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.