Law Enforcement Offices Should Be Fit for Duty and Their Agencies Should Help Them Get There




Harrelson, Kevin

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


A police officer should be in good physical shape throughout their career. They usually must pass a physical fitness test to get hired, and they are required to maintain physical fitness standards while they are training at the police academy. The ironic thing is that many police officers usually do not continue to exercise or workout after they finish academy training. When an officer is in the public view, they give off an image. Whether that image is professional or not, is usually perceived before the officer even opens their mouth to speak. An officer that appears fit in their uniform can help send a message of respect to the citizens of their community, and, possibly, criminals as well. An officer that appears out of shape and looks bad in their uniform portrays an image of unprofessionalism, and that they do not take their job seriously. Law enforcement agencies should find ways to help and encourage their officers to maintain good physical fitness, but, a mandatory program, with discipline attached, sends out a message of fear that the officers may lose their job. A mandatory program can be expensive if an agency has to let officers go because of failing to meet the standards. If a program has no consequences for failing then officers will not take it seriously. Agencies should implement voluntary fitness programs that will have the incentives attached to attract officers to join. Law enforcement officers should be fit for duty and their agencies should help them get there.



Police--Health and Hygiene, Physical Fitness