Differences In Fitness Between Law Enforcement Cadets And Officers: A Retrospective Study Of Two Agencies

Tyler Danielson, Rob Marc Orr, Robert G. Lockie, Kiyoshi S Goad, Ben Schram, Charlie Kornhauser, Ryan Holmes, Bert Jacobson, Jay Dawes

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INTRODUCTION: Research suggests that police officers progressively become less fit during their careers which may impact their ability to perform job-specific physical tasks. However, as tasks may vary between different law enforcement agencies (LEAs), there may be differences in both fitness levels and changes in fitness between different LEAs. 
PURPOSE: To identify differences in fitness parameters between cadets and incumbent police officers across two LEAs. 
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of data from two separate LEAs were analyzed. The study cohort consisted of 388 male incumbent police officers (LEA 1 n = 72; mean age = 39.43 ± 8.28 yrs; mean weight = 87.47 ± 11.60 kg: LEA 2 n = 316; mean age = 37.92 ± 7.71 yrs; mean weight = 88.80 ± 12.93 kg) and 157 cadets (LEA 1 n = 66; mean age = 29.95 ± 5.73 yrs; mean weight = 85.65 ± 11.92 kg; LEA 2 n = 91; mean age = 30.14 ± 6.93 yrs; mean weight = 86.50 ± 12.23 kg). Fitness measures included 1 min maximum push-up repetitions (PU), and sit-up repetitions (SU), a vertical jump (VJ), and either a 1.5 mile run or a 20m multistage fitness test (20m MSFT), with the latter measures converted to VO2max. Independent samples t-tests were used to compare both combined and individual LEA cadet cohorts against combined incumbent officer cohorts. Alpha levels were set at p<0.05. RESULTS: When combined, cadets were found to be significantly younger (p<0.01) and lighter (p<0.05) than incumbent police officers. When divided into respective LEAs only differences in age remained between cadets and officers. When comparing fitness measures, cadets achieved higher PU, SU, VJ, and VO2max scores as a cohort (p<0.001 respectively) and as LEA 2 (p<0.01, p<0.001, p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). However, only PU, SU and VO2max (p<0.001 respectively) were significantly higher in LEA 1 with no differences in VJ between cadets and incumbent officers. 
CONCLUSIONS: Cadets were generally more fit than incumbent police officers, whose fitness may decrease over time due to job demands (e.g. shiftwork and stress), age-related declines, and changes in physical activity. Police officer fitness appears to peak during their time as cadets and decreases regardless of LEA. Maximizing fitness levels during cadet training and minimizing fitness loss after training is vital if incumbent officers are going to remain fit for duty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-376
Number of pages1
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number7S
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
EventAmerican College of Sports Medicine Central States Annual Meeting - Broken Arrow, United States
Duration: 24 Oct 201925 Oct 2019


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