IACP Releases Fitness Program Report
Is physical fitness important for officers to do their job effectively?
The question has been asked on multiple occasions. According to a report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), there is a critical link between officer weight, fitness and risk of injury on the job. Officers who had a healthy weight missed fewer days from work because of injury, and officers engaging in fitness programs were less likely to have severe job-related injuries. (Officer Injuries, Final Report, 2009)
For these and other reasons, many law enforcement agencies within the commonwealth require officers to meet specific physical fitness standards related to muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, speed and agility. Others are reviewing the feasibility of implementing such programs.
A new report created by IACP is now available to assist agencies in this review and development of a physical fitness program. The “Fitness Program Development Considerations” (IACP, 2018) report sums up the issue of program development very well.
“Because officer fitness is, in many ways, a personal issue as well as a professional issue, implementing a fitness program is not as simple as opening the doors to a gym facility. Rather it requires a mindset and organizational culture that values fitness and wellness. This means that it is essential to be thoughtful in the planning process, incorporate feedback from internal and external stakeholders, and carefully evaluate the program throughout planning and implementation. Ultimately, law enforcement agencies will need to design a program that will work for their specific departments, taking into consideration demographics, internal culture, and individual employee needs.”
The report gives checklists for planning and implementation of the training program, identifies essential components, discusses stakeholders needed in the design of the program and talks about data tracking and development. It also discusses legal considerations and liability issues.
For more information, please review the entire report here.
Remember, this is a national report, so expect it to be a little generic. But the information and resources may be helpful in your own program development. Remember, our ultimate goal is the safety of our officers. It is time to create fitness programs that do just that!