The issue of police officer physical fitness stands as an ongoing issue that has been present for a long period of time but has been attempted to be resolved before. Specifically in Chesterfield County, Virginia, an attempt to institute physical fitness standards that patrol officers must abide by on a regular basis was attempted by Captain Hal Moser of the Chesterfield County Police Department. However, in an interview with Captain Moser, he stated that he ran into resistance when trying to compose and conduct these standards through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. However, my proposal will not be faced with this issue because while my solution is similar to Captain Moser’s, it has slight differences. The slight differences in my solution are that the physical fitness standards are not required of incumbents of Chesterfield County Police and the individuals who participate in the program are rewarded with more benefits than just greater physical fitness levels.
To recap, my proposed solution to cure the problem of Chesterfield County police patrol officers being physically unfit to handle most physically demanding situations which does not provide for the best protection and service is to develop physical fitness requirements that the department would deem necessary for their officers to be in outstanding physical fitness but do not require them to meet them. Instead, in this program, the department will offer an opportunity to their officers to meet these standards once a month, and if an officer fulfills the standards, he or she may enjoy incentives such as a pay stipend. Essentially, this program has physical fitness standards that are an expectation that their officers meet rather than a requirement, but it also offers incentives to entice those officers to participate.
Now, the resistance to this solution falls in the hands of two groups. The first group of resistance would be the Chesterfield County Police Department. They would likely resist because this program is going to cost a little bit of money and resources to solve the issue. However, I believe that the cost will be low. The reason they would resist based on cost is because the money they spend on this program could be allocated for other important projects within the department. For instance, the Chesterfield County Police Department might prefer to spend the money they would allocate for this program on crime prevention strategies. However, I plan on overcoming this resistance by showing that having patrol officers in extraordinary physical condition stands as a form of crime prevention because those officers will be more equipped to prevent crime or resolve crime in those situations that require an exuberant amount of physical fitness. Furthermore, I would also overcome this resistance by portraying that the costs that would be allocated toward this solution would be minimal. For instance, the biggest cost would be the distribution of the incentive of a pay stipend which would only be the case if the department chose to adopt that incentive into their program. Moreover, there would be very minimal costs to conduct the program because they could have academy instructors conduct the tests during one day out of the month. Lastly, since the program is optional, the officers participating could come in to test on one of their off days in which the department would not need to pay them for being there because the program is strictly optional.
Now, the second group that would oppose this solution would be the Chesterfield County Government. The reason they would oppose this solution would be in the case that Chesterfield County Police Department asked for more funds for this program and the Chesterfield County Government did not want to allocate more funds to them. They would have to allocate more funds to the department for this program which would potentially rearrange the budget for the whole county, and since this solution is not a guarantee that police performance will be increased because it is optional, they will feel that it is a waste of money. However, I anticipate overcoming this resistance the same way I anticipate to overcome the resistance put forward by the Chesterfield County Police Department which is to show how the costs are minimal and that it inevitably will increase job performance compared to the performances present now.
Overall, I also anticipate overcoming both of these forms of resistance by showing how it differs from requiring officers to meet physical fitness standards. Essentially, this solution differs from my previous solution because it does not require the officers to meet physical fitness requirements. This program is strictly optional from the viewpoint of the officers. Moreover, building on this notion, the new solution will not violate any legislation that is already present.
Moser, H. (2014, January 27). Interview by G.J. Bardenheier. Police physical fitness.