Introduction of an Applicant Job-Related Task Assessment and the Effects on the Health and Fitness of Police Recruits

Robert G. Lockie, Rob Marc Orr, K. Kennedy, J. Jay Dawes

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PURPOSE: In 2020, a large south-eastern police department in the USA introduced a JobRelated Task Assessment (JTA) that applicants had to complete in 417 seconds, which incorporated running, climbing, crawling, balance, direction changes, stair climbing, dragging, sled pushes, and simulated controlling of a struggling subject. The study aim was to compare the health and fitness of recruits hired after the introduction of the JTA compared to the previous 4 years following a hiring freeze. METHODS: Retrospective analysis was conducted on recruit data split into academy training year: 2016 (61 males, 30 females), 2017 (88 males, 41 females), 2018 (115 males, 52 females), 2019 (161 males, 81 females), and 2020 (24 males, 13 females). The 2020 group was hired after the JTA introduction and included one academy class. The following were recorded for all trainees: age, height, body mass, and body mass index (BMI); systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP); grip strength; push-ups; sit-ups; 2.4-km run; and a physical ability test (PAT) that included a car exit/entrance, ~201-m runs, body drag, obstacle courses, and dry firing. A univariate ANOVA, with sex and age as covariates and Bonferroni post hoc, determined between-year differences. RESULTS: Data are displayed in Table 1. Key results indicated that 2020 recruits had a lower body mass than recruits from all years (p≤0.031) and BMI than 2017-2019 recruits (p≤0.024); higher BP than recruits from all years (p≤0.019); completed more push-ups than 2016-2017 and 2019 recruits (p≤0.034) and more sit-ups than 2019 recruits (p=0.009); and were faster than recruits from all years in the 2.4-km run (p<0.001) and PAT (p≤0.011). RELEVANCE: The JTA introduction led to selection of recruits with lower body mass and BMI, better muscular endurance (push-ups, sit-ups), aerobic fitness (2.4-km run), and job-specific fitness (PAT). However, the higher BP recorded by 2020 recruits should be monitored.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2023
Event4th International Physical Employment Standards Conference - Bond University, Robina, Australia
Duration: 23 Feb 202326 Feb 2023


Conference4th International Physical Employment Standards Conference
Abbreviated titleIPES
OtherHosted by the Bond University Tactical Research Unit the conference will address the three T's essential to supporting physical performance in physically demanding occupations; Theory, Testing and Training. Specific topics will include physical employment standards, identifying and mitigating injury risk factors, physical conditioning and assessing occupational readiness.

The conference content will be a blend of research and applied practice in a range of physically demanding occupations including military, law enforcement, fire and rescue and first responders.
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