Police officers are required to perform tasks that are highly varied in terms of type and duration. To
perform these duties safely and effectively, it is important for an officer to have sufficient muscular
power, strength and endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. However, it may be assumed that as
aspects of policing duties may be similar across different cities, counties, and states, all police
departments and their officers may have the same levels of fitness. The aim of this study was to
investigate whether fitness levels between police officers from two different United States law
enforcement agencies (LEA) would be similar.
Retrospective data were collected from two U.S. LEAs. LEA1 included 79 incumbent officers (♂ = 72,
mean age= 39.43 ± 8.28 years, mean weight= 87.46 ± 11.59 kg; ♀ = 7, mean age = 38.14 ± 3.84 years,
mean weight = 62.72 ± 4.49 kg), while LEA2 had 319 incumbent officers (♂ = 315, mean age= 37.9 ±
7.71 years, mean weight= 88.84 ± 12.93 kg; ♀ = 4, mean age= 32.0 ± 7.07 years, mean weight= 73.14
± 18.36 kg). The data of officers from both agencies included: age, weight, vertical jump, 1-minute
push-up, 1-minute sit-up, 2.4 km run (LEA 1) and 20-meter Multi-Stage Fitness Test (LEA 2).
Independent samples t-tests were used to compare anthropometric and fitness data by whole
cohorts and by male cohorts. Female cohorts were excluded from analysis given their small sample
sizes (n = 7 and n = 4 respectively). Alpha levels were set at 0.05.
Officers from LEA1 weighed significantly less and performed significantly better than officers from
LEA2 on all fitness measures. When comparing male officers alone, there was no statistical
difference in age and weight; nonetheless, officers from LEA1 significantly outperformed officers
from LEA2 on all fitness measures.
The results from this study indicated clear differences in fitness between two different agencies
from the US. This occurred despite the potential for similarity in certain law enforcement job tasks
and academy training across different agencies. Based on the significant differences in officer
performance found in this study, it is important for each LEA to develop fitness standards and
training protocols for their officers that are contextualised to their specific populations and training