Judging from the popularity of police based TV shows, it’s probably an understatement to say that the American public has a fascination with police work. What cops do, and how they do it, makes for great TV drama. With 27 officers on the Kent Police force, I appreciate the fact that the profession remains one that captures public interest, but unfortunately I also think the dramatic portrayals tend to misrepresent what is truly one of the most honorable professions a person can choose. Donut jokes aside, Police work is hard physically, intellectually and emotionally. These are people that choose to put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf. To find trouble, before it finds us.
For all it’s glory on TV, police work in the real world has much more to do with being prepared, persistent and patient — rather than some producers imaginative use of special effects. As much as the CSI series would like you to believe that forensics technology can solve any crime, in reality, it’s still the officer in the street that prevents, stops and solves crimes.
And just because we are a smaller city doesn’t mean that being an officer in Kent is any less demanding than in the big cities. Quite the contrary. A gun can kill in small cities just as easily as in big cities so Kent officers face the same dangers, and the same challenges, e.g., drugs, domestic dispute, gang activity, as their big city cousins. It’s actually a credit to the effectiveness of our police force that Kent is a city where most of us don’t have to think or worry about our safety.
It’s not that the threats aren’t out there — it’s just that your city police officers are also out there, keeping us safe.
Of the three cities where I have worked, I have to say Kent has the most educated police force I’ve ever had a chance to work with. This is not your grandfather’s police force. A surprising number of our officers have master’s degrees and nearly all have college degrees. We have an exceptionally well trained and prepared police force that has been used as a model for other cities to learn from — and not just in Ohio or the US, we have foreign countries that have sent people here to Kent to learn tactics from our officers.
In a world of “ever present danger” it’s nice to know that we have men and woman recognized around the world for what they do, and how well they do it.
As you might imagine, it’s not easy to get into such a well credentialed police force. There’s a lot of testing that you must pass long before you get a badge. I came across a sample of the kinds of physical testing that are done and I thought I’d share it.
FACTS ABOUT THE TRI – C PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST
BACKGROUNDThe college, in recognizing the importance of physical fitness status for job performance, has established physical fitness standards for police department applicants and recruits. The college conducted a validation study to determine what areas of physical fitness are important for doing the job of a police officer and the level of fitness necessary to perform the strenuous and essential functions of the training and the job. You will be expected to meet the physical fitness test standards when entering the agency.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL FITNESS?
Physical fitness is having the physical readiness to perform the strenuous and critical physical tasks of the job. The physical fitness areas that have been determined to be the underlying factors for your capabilities to do the job consist of six (6) specific and different areas.
1. Aerobic power or cardiovascular endurance. This is having an efficient heart and cardiovascular system so that you can perform physical tasks over a sustained period of time. It is an important area for performing job tasks such as engaging in foot pursuits and long term use of force situations.
2. Anaerobic power. This is having the ability to make short intense bursts of effort. This an important area for performing job tasks such as short sprint pursuit situations.
3. Upper body absolute strength . This is having the upper body strength to make maximal efforts against a resistance. This is important for performing physical tasks that require lifting, carrying and pushing.
4. Upper body extensor muscular endurance. This is having the capability to make repeated muscular contractions with the upper body without getting fatigued. This is important for pushing and many use of force job tasks.
5. Trunk muscular endurance. This is having the capability to make repeated muscular contractions using the muscles of the trunk including the abdominal, hip flexor and low back muscles without getting fatigued. It is important in many tasks involving lifting, pulling and dragging.
6. Agility. This is having the ability to make quick movements with sprinting. This is important for making movements and changes of direction around obstacles during pursuits.
WHY IS PHYSICAL FITNESS IMPORTANT?
First, physical fitness is important because the six physical fitness areas determine an individual’s capability to do strenuous job tasks. Physical fitness is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
Secondly, physical fitness is important to minimize health risks for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity – all of which can affect job performance capabilities.
HOW WILL PHYSICAL FITNESS BE MEASURED?
There are six (6) physical fitness tests that will be given as a battery of tests.
1. 1.5 mile run. This measures aerobic power or cardiovascular endurance (the ability to have stamina over time). The test consists of running/walking as fast as possible the distance of 1.5 miles.
2. 300 meter run . This measures anaerobic power or the ability to make an intense burst of effort for a short time period or distance. The test consists of sprinting 300 meters as fast as possible.
3. 1 Repetition Maximum (RM) Bench Press. This measures the absolute strength of the upper body. The test consists of lying on a bench and pushing up as much weight as you can one time.
4. Maximum push up test. This measures the extensor muscular endurance of the upper body. The test consists of doing as many push ups from the front, lean and rest position with no time limit.
5. Maximum situp test. This measures the muscular endurance of the trunk muscles including trunk and leg flexors and lower back extensors. The test consists of doing as many bent knee sit ups as possible in sixty seconds.
6. Agility run. This measures agility. The test consists of sprinting and dodging around one foot obstacles (traffic cones) over a 60 yard course as fast as possible.
WHAT TEST STANDARDS MUST I MEET?
You will be given the tests in the following sequence. There will be rest periods between each event. Each test is scored separately and you must meet the standard on each and every test in order to pass the entire battery. The standards are as follows:
Maximum push ups 27
Maximum sit ups 31 in one minute
Agility run 19 seconds
1RM bench press Push 78% of your body weight
300 meter run 62 seconds
1.5 mile run 16:36