Comparisons between male and female deputy sheriff recruits in the work sample test battery

Javier Hernandez, Maria M. Beitzel, Joe Dulla, Rob Marc Orr, J. Jay Dawes, Robert G. Lockie

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The job demands of law enforcement may require officers to perform strenuous tasks with little advanced warning. In addition to having to complete generic tasks (pushing, pulling and carrying), on-duty law enforcement officers (LEOs) may have to execute job-specific tasks (defensive tactics, vaulting obstacles, pursuing suspects). These job-specific tasks are the same for all LEOs, regardless of sex. Recruits will complete job-specific tests, such as the Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB) in California, intended to prepare them for these demands. The WSTB was designed to duplicate what a LEO may encounter on duty. PURPOSE: To determine differences between male and female deputy sheriff recruits in the WSTB. METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed on 308 deputy sheriff recruits from five academy classes (males = 259, females = 49). The WSTB is comprised of five tests completed for time: a 99-yard obstacle course (99OC), 165-pound body drag (BD), 6-foot chain link fence climb (CLF), 6-foot solid wall climb (SW), and a 500-yard run (500R). These tests must be completed to a state-mandated minimum standard in order for recruits to graduate, and were typically performed in the last weeks of academy. Independent samples t-tests (p < 0.05) and effect sizes (d) were calculated to document any differences between the sexes. Effect size ranges were set as follows: trivial effect = < 0.2; small effect = 0.2 - 0.6; moderate effect = 0.6 -1.2; large effect = 1.2 - 2.0; very large effect = 2.0 - 4.0; and an extremely large effect = 4.0+. RESULTS: Females were significantly (p < 0.001) slower on all items of the WSTB when compared to males. Specifically, females were slower on the 99OC (males = 18.78 ± 1.39 s; females = 20.76 ± 1.71 s), BD (males = 4.86 ± 2.49 s; females = 6.71 ± 1.78 s), CLF (males = 7.69± 1.29 s; females = 9.48 ± 1.55 s), SW (males = 7.39 ± 1.17 s; females = 9.92 ± 6.28 s) and 500R (males = 88.25 ± 9.20 s; females = 100.41 ± 6.28 s). The effects ranged from small-to-large (d = 0.56 – 1.54). CONCLUSIONS: Females scored lower on all WSTB items. Slower performance in job-specific tests could translate to slower performance in the tasks required in line of duty for many female LEOs while working alongside their counterparts. This may pose a liability to not only to themselves, but to their colleagues. Training staff should consider developing the physical qualities important for WSTB performance in females to enhance future job performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages49
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019
Event39th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine - Newport Beach, United States
Duration: 25 Oct 201926 Oct 2019
Conference number: 39th
http://www.acsm.org/acsm-membership/regional-chapters/acsm-chapters/southwest (American College of Sports Medicine Southwest Chapter)

Conference

Conference39th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine
Abbreviated titleSWACSM
CountryUnited States
CityNewport Beach
Period25/10/1926/10/19
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Hernandez, J., Beitzel, M. M., Dulla, J., Orr, R. M., Jay Dawes, J., & Lockie, R. G. (2019). Comparisons between male and female deputy sheriff recruits in the work sample test battery. 49. Poster session presented at 39th Annual Meeting of the Southwest Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine , Newport Beach, United States.