Years Out Of Academy Influences General And Job-Specific Fitness In Deputy Sheriff Incumbents

Joe Dulla, Matthew R. Moreno, Rob Marc Orr, James Dawes, Robert G. Lockie

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INTRODUCTION Law enforcement recruits are often required to complete general fitness assessments (e.g. muscular strength, aerobic capacity) and state-mandated physical ability tests relating to job tasks prior to graduating academy. However, few law enforcement agencies mandate that incumbents maintain their general fitness or physical abilities during employment. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of years out of academy on fitness measured by agency- and state-specific testing batteries in deputy sheriff incumbents. METHODS Retrospective analysis on one patrol school class (48 males, 12 females; average tenure: 5.44 years; average age: 32.97 years) from one agency was conducted. Patrol school was a three-week skills refresher program completed by incumbents who had been working in custody. The fitness assessment comprised of: resting heart rate, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, grip strength for each hand, number of push-ups and sit-ups in 60 s, and YMCA step test recovery heart rate. The jobspecific work sample test battery (WSTB) was comprised of five tests completed for time: an obstacle run (OR) around a 99-yard obstacle course; a body drag (BD) with a 165-pound dummy; a climb over a six-foot chain link fence (CL) and six-foot solid wall (SW); and a 500-yard run (500R). Incumbents were grouped based on time elapsed from academy graduation (Group 1: < 24 months [n = 18]; Group 2: 24-48 months [n = 22]; Group 3: > 48 months [n = 20]). A one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc compared data between the groups (p ≤ 0.05). RESULTS Group 3 were significantly older than Groups 1 and 2 (p = 0.010-0.027), and completed significantly less sit-ups compared to Group 2 (p = 0.006). Regarding the WSTB, Group 3 was significantly slower in the OR (p = 0.033-0.035), BD (p = 0.002-0.022), and CL (p = 0.007-0.011) compared to Groups 1 and 2. No significant between-group differences where observed in the SW and 500R. CONCLUSIONS Younger incumbents closer to academy graduation performed better on select WSTB tasks, including the OR, BD, and CL. In combination with sit-ups, which assesses abdominal strength endurance, these occupationally-relevant ability tests require agility, strength, power and anaerobic fitness. These data suggest deputy sheriff incumbents should focus on developing or maintaining these qualities during their employment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event3rd International Conference on Physical Employments Standards - Portsmouth UK, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201819 Jul 2018
Conference number: 3rd


Conference3rd International Conference on Physical Employments Standards
Abbreviated titlePES 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityPortsmouth UK
Internet address


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