Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioCome October, police officers in one Utah city will need to pass a mandatory physical fitness test. So, their chief is buying gym memberships so officers can get in shape.
Officer: "Just doing my workout. Tuesday is arms and back."
After all, the test set by the Utah Risk Management Mutual Association has them doing push-ups, sit-ups and running so far in a short amount of time.
Officer: "Oh, it's a deep burn!"
So, the city is setting aside over $1,400 to help their officers buy gym memberships.
Farmington is not alone. Some reports say 60 percent of the city workers in Gainesville, Florida, are enrolled in their fitness program. In California, a new bill would give tax credits to companies that subsidize health club memberships.
Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Bedard: "We want officers to be in shape, and it serves a lot of purposes."
Detective Bedard says fit officers have fewer injuries, miss less work and generally use less force when dealing with a suspect.
Jeff Bedard: "They're not going to overcompensate because they can't run after a guy or because they get tired wrestling with a guy."
Fitness requirements for Salt Lake City officers are different than those of Farmington. Once the patrolman passes the initial test, the city does not mandate a level of physical fitness. However, they encourage officers to stay in shape, and they use cash to do it.
Jeff Bedard: "We have a program called ‘Career Path,' which, according to how well an officer tests physically, they receive varying amounts of money."
Bedard says Salt Lake City Police offers a unique way to pay for gym memberships. Officers can sell a certain amount of vacation hours for gym reimbursement. But, what about companies like Farmington Police that are buying memberships? This could backfire.
Jordan Valley Athletic Club Owner Ranae Plumb: "I've found that when the company reimburses the whole amount, they do not use the facilities, but, if they've had to fork out some money themselves, then they're very good at using the club."
Ranae Plumb says this philosophy generally holds true for most people no matter what their jobs are, including police officers. She says some club members who had their fees paid for through their government jobs have asked her to tweak her records.
Ranae Plumb: "I give them a record of how many times a person has been in, and they have to come minimal of three times a week to stay on the program. I've had people call and say, ‘Would you check me in?'"
Her answer is always, "No." However, Plumb says people love having a free gym membership, even if less than a quarter of all people who have one actually use it.