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Logan Police will Require Fitness Tests

Logan Police will Require Fitness Tests



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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Forget the doughnuts and pass the low-calorie salad dressing.

The Logan Police Department is set to become one of dozens statewide that require officers to pass physical fitness tests.

Police Chief Richard Hendricks said the department's 61 sworn officers may face "employment consequences" beginning next fall if they fail the tests.

"I'm not saying there will be terminations, but there may be reassignments or transfers," Hendricks said. "They (officers) know that I think it's important, and I'm working hard to implement it in my own lifestyle."

Hendricks has prepared a draft plan for the fall of 2005 that will require officers unable to pass fitness tests to be retested or evaluated through job task simulations, which would things like foot pursuit and arrest scenarios.

Under the plan, an officer failing any of the simulations would be "coached and tested on the specific deficient standards" for up to six months. Continued failures after that point would result in suspension without pay or termination.

Hendricks began phasing in physical fitness testing two years ago after consulting with a Weber State College fitness expert. The current test measures how high officers can jump, how many sit-ups and push-ups they can do, how much weight they can bench-press and how fast they can run 1 1/2 miles.

The department doesn't provide duty time for personal fitness, but Hendricks said he's negotiated a corporate rate at a local gym, and the city gives the officers a discount at the Logan Recreation Center.

The officers also have 24-hour access to the gym at the police officer training academy at Bridgerland Applied Technology College.

The Logan police test is given each spring and fall, with the fall test determining fitness for duty. In testing last week, fewer than six officers have failed portions of the test, according to Hendricks.

There currently are no consequences for failing. But Hendricks said he and his senior officers are coaching, mentoring and encouraging improvement in those who fail.

Police physical fitness testing is conducted in Ogden and Murray.

Efforts are under way around the state, spurred by insurance carriers for cities and towns, to create and enforce physical fitness testing for sworn peace officers. Requiring all police officers be physically fit can ward off potential lawsuits.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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