Park City cops don’t want to be outrun, outjumped or outmuscled
February 24, 2012
A 1 1/2-mile run. And a 300-meter sprint. A jump straight into the air, pushups and sit ups, as well.
They are some of the tests that officers in the Park City Police Department must take twice a year, part of a physical-fitness program the Police Department introduced in 2011.
All sworn officers must submit to the tests, which are given in the spring and fall, and police brass wants them to meet certain standards. The Police Department says the physical fitness of the officers is crucial to their jobs. They might have to pursue a wanted person on their own two feet, thus the running exercises. Or they could be required to tangle with a suspect who does not want to be arrested, calling for the muscles built doing pushups.
"It’s good and getting even better," Capt. Phil Kirk said about the physical fitness of the officer corps in the Police Department, noting that there has been healthy competition between the officers as they have gotten into better shape.
If an officer does not meet the standards, the failure could eventually impact their bonus.
An officer in their first year of the department’s physical-fitness program should complete a 1 1/2-mile run in 17 minutes, 29 seconds. The 300-meter sprint goal in the first year is 1 minute, 23 seconds. Other first-year goals include an 11-inch vertical jump, 18 sit ups in a minute and 9 pushups in a row. The pushups are not timed.
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the fourth year of the program, the officers will be asked to complete the 1 1/2-mile run in 14 minutes, 46 seconds, nearly three minutes faster than the year-one goal. The 300-meter sprint should take 1 minute, 4 seconds and the vertical jump should reach 17.5 inches. The officers should be able to do 21 pushups in a row as well as 29 sit ups in a minute.
The Police Department based the standards on those set by the state Department of Public Safety, the agency that trains law enforcement officers who work in the state. The Police Department held each officer to the same standards regardless of gender or age.
The Police Department last fall noted the physical-fitness program in a wide-ranging report to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council in which City Hall departments provided progress updates.
In mid-fall, police officers underwent the physical-fitness testing, the second time they have done so. The first was in the spring. Kirk described the results as impressive. He said approximately two-thirds of the officers would have passed had the Police Department been using the fourth-year goals.
Several officers, though, did not meet the first-year goals in some categories, Kirk acknowledged. Not hitting the goal in the 1 1/2-mile run accounted for most of them, he said.
The testing will occur every six months for each officer. The next round is scheduled in April. Police Chief Wade Carpenter said the fitness program could eventually reduce health-insurance rates.
"It sends a message to the public we’re taking our profession seriously," Carpenter said.
The officers have been losing weight since the fitness program was instituted, with Carpenter saying one of the officers has lost upward of 60 pounds. He said officers who are in better shape may more easily break up a fight and have the endurance during a search for a lost person. The chief also said cardiac arrest is the No. 1 killer of police officers on duty and that better fitness reduces stress as well as improves attitudes.
"It makes us all a little nervous at first," said Bob Lucking, a sergeant who has been with the Police Department for about a decade and is the president of the department’s Fraternal Order of Police, adding, "At first, it was, like, uh-oh."
Lucking is the officer who lost the 60-plus pounds. Lucking said he shed 65 pounds as he got in shape, partly a result of the Police Department’s fitness program. Lucking said each of the officers has shown improvement. That has led to a new attitude toward their beats, he said.
"I’m more active, more alert. I don’t mind getting out of my car during foot patrols, business checks," Lucking said.