Can I Save You? A Pilot Analysis of the Body Drag Test in Law Enforcement Academy Recruits

Robert G. Lockie, Matthew R. Moreno, Kamran Pakdamanian, Jay J. Dawes, Rob Marc Orr, Karly A. Cesario , Joseph Dulla

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch

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An essential job task for law enforcement officers is a body drag (BD), where they must drag a civilian or fellow officer from a hazardous environment to safety. In California, a BD with a 165-lb dummy is a test within the Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB). Completed by a recruit before they graduate academy, the BD must be completed within 28 s in order to attain points towards the WSBT. However, current US population data indicates that an adult male has a mean body mass of ~196 lb, while females equal ~169 lbs (which does not include any additional loads that may be worn if the victim is an officer). This would suggest that the dummy mass should be increased to prepare recruits for this task. However, before increases to the dummy mass are considered, there should be an analyses of how recruits who have yet to undergo specific law enforcement training complete this test. If they are strong enough to achieve state standards with a 165-lb dummy before academy, this would imply that staff should be able to improve recruit strength to any new BD standards. The purpose of this study was to measure the BD performance for incoming recruits (INC), detail how many achieved the current state standard, and compare their results to data from recruits who graduated academy (GRAD). A cross-sectional, retrospective analysis of data from one law enforcement agency was conducted. One class of INC (67 males, 23 females) was compared to GRAD from nine classes (542 males, 100 females). The INC completed the BD in the week prior to the start of their 22-week academy; the GRAD in the final weeks of their academy. The BD required the recruit to lift the dummy and drag them 32 feet. Recruits were instructed to lift the dummy and stand stationary before initiating the drag; timing commenced once the dummy began to move. Independent samples t-tests (p < 0.05) compared BD differences between the INC and GRAD groups, with data combined for the sexes. INC were compared to the state standard to ascertain passing rate. GRAD (5.24 ± 2.71 s) performed the BD significantly faster than INC (7.83 ± 4.02 s). However, only one recruit from the INC did not complete the BD in 28 s. Most recruits from this class had sufficient strength and technical ability to successfully drag a 165-lb dummy fast enough to achieve state standards prior to specific training. The strength of recruits should not be considered a barrier to increasing the dummy mass to be reflective of the US population. Moreover, the use of a strength test (e.g., hex bar deadlift) should be considered for inclusion in the hiring process to indicate a potential recruit’s strength relative to the BD if the dummy mass increases.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
EventThe 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine - Costa Mesa Hilton, Costa Mesa, United States
Duration: 26 Oct 201827 Oct 2018
Conference number: 38th


ConferenceThe 38th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine
Abbreviated titleSWACSM
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCosta Mesa
Internet address


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