Why Is Fitness Important as a Job-Related Element for Law Enforcement Officers?
It has been well documented that law enforcement personnel (as an occupational class) have serious health risk problems in terms of cardiovascular disease, lower back disorders, and obesity. Law enforcement agencies have the responsibility of minimizing known risk.
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification
Physical fitness is a health domain which can minimize the known health risks for law enforcement officers. Physical fitness has been demonstrated to be a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ). Job analysis that account for physical fitness have demonstrated that fitness areas are underlying factors determining the physiological readiness to perform a variety of critical physical tasks. These fitness areas have also been shown to be predicative of job performance ratings, sick time, and number of commendations of police officers.
Data also shows that the fitness level is predicative of trainability and academy performance. Physical fitness can be an important area for minimizing liability. The unfit officer is less able to respond fully to strenuous physical activity. Consequently, the risk of not performing physical duties is increased.