CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY DAYTON, OHIO
General Physical Requirements for Applicants Seeking an Occupational Career
in Municipal, County or State Law Enforcement Created by Dr. Jim Adamitis
Based on a random survey of a limited literature base pertaining to those physical requirements many reputablemunicipal, county and state law enforcement agencies require of their candidates, this document attempts to identify those essential elements comprising same.It does not offer any specific information pertaining to a particularagency nor does it include that information relevant to Criminal investigationat the Federal level, or those requirements for individuals seeking a positionin the Correctional field and/or that area of Judicial Administration.Rather, it is a report presented as a compendium of thatdata promulgated by select law enforcement training councils and/or agencies.
It is hoped that this document will provide interested Wright State University criminal justice students with pertinent information pertainingto the physical requirements for one specifically seeking a career in lawenforcement. Academic requirements differ with each agency, and, therefore,it is suggested that the student contact that public law enforcement entityhe/she is specifically interested in for employment.
WEIGHT AND PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARDSFOR POLICE OFFICER CANDIDATES
ALLOWANCE FOR EXCEPTIONAL CONDITIONS
A reasonable degree of latitude is permitted the medical examiner inhis identification and interpretation of exceptional conditions which donot come within the prescribed standards, and which in his opinion wouldnot adversely affect the performance of ordinary police duties.
GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETATION
|WEIGHT||permissive procedures wherein overweight or underweight candidatesmay be put on notice to correct this defect to retain candidacy.|
|VISION||addition of standard for perception of color. Correct reading of 13or more of the first 15 Ishahara plates is deemed acceptable.|
|HEARING||addition of guidelines for standards and addition of audiometer testsbetween 250 and 6,000 cycles per second with hearing loss not exceeding30 decibels.|
|TEETH||addition of clause permitting candidates to be put on notice in event,of a remediable defect and to permit continuation of his candidacy uponcertification that the defect has been corrected.|
|BLOOD PRESSURE||modification of standards to qualify with systolic not higher than140, not lower than 90; diastolic maximum 95 and to permit additional readingsif first reading does not meet the standard.|
REQUIRED MEDICAL STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
(See accompanying illustrative check list of conditions to be consideredas disqualifying -- Part IV)
This examination is not rated on a percent score but merely on a passor reject basis.
The findings of qualified medical examiners duly appointed by the localCivil Service Commissions shall be deemed to be valid for the purposesoutlined in these standards. Examination reports from personal or familyphysicians of candidates are not to be presented by or on behalf of candidatescertifying as to compliance with the standards contained herein.
ALLOWANCE FOR EXCEPTIONAL CONDITIONS
It is recognized that no set of standards can possibly be devised whereinall exceptional situations may be identified and satisfactorily resolved.It is therefore deemed advisable to permit a reasonable degree of latitudeto the professional examiner in his identification and interpretation ofexceptional conditions which, in his opinion, would not adversely affectthe performance of ordinary police duties by the candidate. Examples ofsuch exceptional conditions, with guidelines for same, are outlined inseparate sections of the standards.
The general procedure to be followed by the examiner when a conditionnot within the stated limits is noted, is for the examiner to attach asigned statement to the report of examination, in which he (1) identifiesthe particular condition, and (2) gives his medical opinion as to why thiscondition is deemed to be in such degree or to such extent as would notadversely affect the performance of "ordinary police duties" by the candidateduring the normal period of his police career.
Within the range of "ordinary police duties" the candidate should becapable of performing arduous physical exercise, such as running at a rapidpace for up to three or four minutes; doing heavy lifting such as carryingor helping carry an injured person or body for some distance; restraininga violent person, or similar strenuous feats, without obvious danger ofover-exertion. An obvious lack of physical coordination, obesity, or othertypes of physical disabilities would reasonably be considered to be barriersto the performance of "ordinary police duties" and any such defects shouldbe considered by the examiner as grounds for disqualification. A policeofficer who cannot meet the physical demands of ordinary police duty isa PAGE 4
liability to himself and to his fellow officers in certain emergencysituations, and such officer should be disqualified. It must be realizedthat "ordinary police duties" includes those emergencies in which a policeofficer must take immediate positive action requiring a high degree ofphysical and mental response.
1. HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
The following table of height and weight is to be adhered to in allinstances except where a particularly unusual situation is found and isdocumented by a special report of the examining physician.
Local Commissions may adopt the following height and weight schedulein its entirely and may exercise the option of permitting no exceptionsunder any circumstances, or:
They may adopt the procedure whereby exceptions to the weight schedulemay be noted at the time of examination, with a written notice to the candidatethat if he corrects the deficiency within a stated period of time up tothe date of appointment, he may be further considered for such appointment.In such instances the candidate is passed over in the normal certificationprocedure until the condition has been corrected and certified as havingbeen corrected.
|HEIGHT AND WEIGHT STANDARDS|
Adequate vision is most important to a police officer, for several obviousand valid reasons, among which are: self-protection, ability to focus onaction whether near or at a distance, as an aid in criminal investigationor as a qualified witness in court.
In addition to the test for sharpness of eyesight and color perception,the examining physician should examine the eyes to make sure they are freefrom disease or possible condition that might lead to the rapid deteriorationof the eyesight.
The minimum acceptable standard of visual acuity (uncorrected) shallbe 20/30 in the stronger eye and 20/40 in the other eye, total vision correctedto 20/20.
Perception of color is deemed acceptable if candidate correctly reads13 or more of the first 15 Ishihara plates.
Disqualifying Conditions: (see attached list -- Part IV)
It is highly desirable that all candidates be tested for sharpness ofhearing, to establish a record of hearing ability at the time of recruitmentand to provide a valid basis for disqualification of such candidates asare found to have obvious hearing defects which would interfere with ordinarypolice duty, such as inability to clearly perceive sounds within the normalvoice range, or such sounds as are transmitted by police sirens, policeradios, or voice commands, within normal decibel limits.
The use of a hearing aid by the candidate should be considered to bedisqualifying.
The audiometer should be used as the instrument for measuring the hearingcapability of the candidate. Such tests should be given in a reasonablyquiet room. Tests by the voice of the examiner or by any device other thanan audiometer are not considered to be valid and should not be used.
The reference thresholds of hearing as set forth herein are based onthe 1963 ISO Standards (International Standards Organization). A candidate'shearing shall be tested between 250 and 6,000 cycles per second, with ahearing loss not to exceed 30 decibels through all frequencies, in eitherear.
A. ARMS AND LEGS, HANDS AND FEET (EXTREMITIES)
There shall be no afflictions, impairments, disabilities or absencesof the arms, legs, hands and feet which will interfere with the properperformance of ordinary police duties.
The extremities of the body must be free from afflictions of the joints,strains, stiffness, swelling or other abnormal conditions. Third degreeflat feet, ingrowing toenails, hammer toes, claw toes, absence of toesshould, if the examining physician considers them disabling or likely tobe disabling in the future, eliminate the candidate from further considerationfor police duty.
Candidate are not acceptable if there is an impairment of more thanone finger on either hand.
B. BACK, JOINTS AND MUSCLES
Disease or injury of back, joints or muscles , as revealed by examinationor x-ray -- history of, e.g., arthritis, bursitis, myositis, osteomyelitis,tendinitis, repeated dislocation of a joint, etc. are sufficient causefor disqualification of the candidate, as are the following conditions:
Congenital malformation of back, e.g., sacralization of lumbar vertebrae,spondyjollsthesis, etc.
Limitation of motion or function; weakness of or lameness of back orjoint.
Operation on bone, joint or spine, e.g., cartilage injury of knee. Historyof disqualifies if any phase of this condition is unsatisfactory to MedicalExaminer.
Significant abnormality of spine.
5. Nose, Mouth, and Teeth
Any significant defects of the nose, mouth or teeth as would interferewith the performance of ordinary police duties shall be deemed to be disqualifying.
Seriously deviated nasal septum or any other significant obstructionto free breathing shall cause rejection. The mouth shall be free from anydeformities or conditions that interfere with distinct speech or predisposeto disease of the ear, nose, or throat. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids orprimary sinusitis may be listed as temporary disqualification and the applicantshall not be placed on an eligible list until the condition is remedied.
The teeth shall be well cared for and free from multiple cavities. Pyorrhea,gingivitis or any irremediable disease of the gums or of the jaw of sucha nature as to interfere seriously with the efficient performance of dutyshall be cause for disqualification of the candidate.
Properly fitting partial or full dentures are permitted.
It is permissible, where a remediable defect in this category is noted,to put the candidate on notice of the defect and permit him, within prescribedtime limits, to have the defect corrected. In such instances, the candidateis passed over in the normal certification procedure until the conditionhas been corrected and certified as having been corrected.
Since the candidates being screened for appointments to the police serviceare in a relatively young age group, any symptoms of a substantial problemwith varicose veins should be considered as sufficient reason for disqualification.It can be envisioned that a candidate with such symptoms might become unfitfor duty at a future date, with the additional influence of having to beon his feet a great deal, and in severe weather conditions.
Examiners are reminded that the nature of police work is such that policeofficers are particularly susceptible to hernias. Therefore, any degreeof tendency toward a weakness or susceptibility to this condition is deemedto be a matter for careful and detailed exploration.
It has been found that many employees become public liabilities dueto hernia or potential hernia. It is therefore essential that single, double,or incipient hernia shall cause the immediate rejection of any candidate.Hernia conditions controlled or corrected by truss are not acceptable forpolice positions. Candidates who indicate a willingness to correct herniacondition by surgical treatment may be retained on the eligible list. However,such candidates are passed over in the normal certification procedure untiltheir condition has been judged corrected. Hydrocele is ample cause forrejection. Varicocele, if large or rending to become large shall causedisqualification.
8. RESPIRATION AND CIRCULATION
The respiration must be full, easy, and regular. The respiratory murmurmust be clear and distinct over both lungs and no disease of the respiratoryorgans should be present. Examination of the respiratory system, lungs,and chest wall shall include an x-ray test of the candidate at the timeof the clinical test. The action of the heart should be uniform, free andsteady; its rhythm regular and the heart should be free from organic change.There should be no thrills or indications of heart murmur. Acceptable bloodpressure readings taken at rest are: systolic not higher than 140, notlower than 90; diastolic maximum 95.
Where an initial reading does not come within the above-noted limits.It is permissible for the examiner to repeat the procedure after allowingthe candidate a period of relaxation and quiet. Of readings are abnormal,two readings on each arm may be taken.
Specifically, any candidate who takes medication for the control ofblood pressure is not acceptable to the police service and should be disqualified.
The rectum shall be free from any disabling condition including hemorrhoids,fistulas or cysts judged by the examiner to be in need of medical attention.If such condition or conditions exist as can be corrected by appropriatesurgery or medical attention, the candidate may be retained on the eligiblelist if he indicates his willingness to have the situation corrected. However,such candidates are passed over in the normal certification procedure untilthe condition has been corrected and certified as having been corrected.
The ability to integrate all parts of the body toward a single end islikewise a factor in physical fitness. In the well-coordinated individual,superfluous movements are eliminated, thus increasing precision and endurance.If, in the opinion of the medical examiner the candidate obviously lackscoordination, this is to be considered as sufficient grounds for disqualification.
11. GENERAL APPEARANCE
It must be realized that policemen are required to meet the generalpublic on various occasions. It is therefore desirable that applicantsbe free from any marked deformity or any parasitic or systemic skin diseaseor any other defects which, although not disabling, would neverthelesscause public reaction against.
the employee and thereby reduce his efficiency. The body shall be wellproportioned, physically developed, and indicate general wholesome cleanliness.Obesity or scrawniness shall cause rejection of candidate. The girth ofthe abdomen must not be more than the measurement of the chest at rest.Pronounced spinal curvature shall cause rejection.
In addition to the foregoing examination, the official physician shouldbe requested to state if the candidate has any other defects which wouldseriously impair his efficiency on the job. The agency should inform thecandidate of the result of the medical examination and indicate to himwhether the defects found are sufficient to eliminate him/her from any futureconsideration, whether they are remediable defects, or whether the defectsare disqualifying only for a position in the police service.
12. CLINICAL TEST -- REQUIRED PROCEDURES
In addition to the physical standards listed in Part I, certain clinicaltests shall be given to each candidate to provide further evidence of fitnessfor active police duty.
A. Urinalysis Candidates will be disqualified upon evidence of albuminuria,glycosuria or renal diabetes until proven benign by further tests.
B. Serologic Test Addition of provision that clinical proof of activevenereal infection is disqualifying but that this condition may be consideredto be a remediable defect to permit later consideration of the candidate.
Candidates will be disqualified upon clinical proof of active venerealinfection as determined by acceptable tests including, the VDRL slide testor the treponemal tests, namely, RCPF, TPI and FTS (ABS). This conditionmay be considered as any other remediable defect which would permit thecandidate to be considered for appointment at a later date, upon submissionof valid certification that the condition had been corrected.
C. Chest X-ray The chest X-ray is required procedure because of itsobvious diagnostic value as part of a comprehensive medical examination.
PHYSICAL TESTS (OPTIONAL)
After the examining physician (or physicians) have completed the above-describedprocedures, the literature base notes that it is strongly recommended that the local Civil Service Commissionadminister tests designed to measure the candidate's strength, agilityand endurance. It is entirely possible that a candidate could meet allthe medical standards required in Parts I and II and still be completelyinadequate from the viewpoint of physical standards. Because of the strenuousphysical demands of the job of the police officer, it is imperative thatminimum standards be adhered to in this aspect of the screening process.
The following requirements re suggested for several reasons among whichare:
(a) The tests are easily administered and require a minimum of equipment.
(b) These tests have been used in the field for a number of years andare found to be valid.
© All procedures are within the view of the candidate who can plainlysee the objectivity and fairness of the test.
(d) These procedures are less susceptible to injuries sustained by candidatesthan some of the more complex or difficult procedures.
It is to be noted that the following physical tests are deemed to beminimum standards and should be considered to be qualifying test; not ratingtests. Local Commissions may wish to assign a weighted value to the physicaltests. Any local Commission or police department desiring to establishmore rigid standards, or to require more extensive testing procedures,may do so.
REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICAL AGILITY TEST (75%general average on all events combined is suggested) STRENGTH
I -- Bar Chinning
Candidates will be required to chin themselves on a horizontal bar 5times to attain a score of 75% in this event. Candidates will begin fromthe completely extended arm position. The count of 1 will be credited toa candidate after the first lift to the horizontal bar. The lift will beof a straight up and down movement. Wiggling or kicking of the feet willresult in loss if credit for the lift involved.
|1 chance||10 times - 100%|
9 times - 95%
8 times - 90%
7 times - 85%
6 times - 80%
5 times - 75%
4 times - 70%
3 times - 65%
2 times - 60%
1 times - 55%
0 times - 0%
II -- High Jump
Candidates will be permitted a short run and will be obliged to clear3 feet 6 inches to attain a score of 75% in this event. Touching or movingof the horizontal rope or pole is cause for disqualification.
|3 chances||4' 6" - 100%|
4' 3" - 90%
4' 0" - 85%
3' 9" - 80%
3' 6" - 75%
3' 3" - 65%
3' 0" - 55%
From a standing position candidates will be required to jump forward6 feet 3 inches to attain a score of 75% in this event. Distance will bemeasured from the starting position to the most rear heel mark of the candidate.
|3 chances||1 inch - 1 point|
IV -- Quarter-Mile Run
Candidate will be required to run one-quarter mile on an outdoor orindoor track. The maximum allowable time for traversing this distance is85 seconds.
|1 chance||60 seconds - 100%|
65 seconds - 95%
70 seconds - 90%
75 seconds - 85%
80 seconds - 80%
85 seconds - 75%
90 seconds - 70%
95 seconds - 65%
|1 point will be deducted for each 1 second over 60.|
MEDICAL STANDARDS FOR POLICE OFFICER CANDIDATESDISQUALIFYING DEFECTS
The following list of defects, is designed for use by medical examinersin processing police candidates, and is to be used in conjunction withthe "Guidelines for Medical Examiners in the Screening of Police OfficerCandidates" that was found in the literature survey and prescribed by select Municipal Police Training Councils andlisted above, in Parts I and II. This list is illustrative and is not intendedas a complete list of disqualifying conditions. The presence of any ofthe defects listed below is deemed to be sufficient cause for disqualifications.
I -- ALLERGY
1. ASTHMA - presence of. History of treatment within the past five years,prior history may disqualify.
2. Other ALLERGIC CONDITIONS - History of chronic and incapacitatingform.
II -- BLOOD CONDITIONS
3. ANEMIA - or any other chronic blood condition
III -- CARDIOVASCULAR
4. BLOOD PRESSURE - Systolic not higher than 140 nor lower than 90 .Diastolic not higher than 95.
(See Part II instructions on RESPIRATION AND CIRCULATION.)
5. HEART - Significant abnormality in rate, rhythm or force, or enlargementor significant murmur.
6. VARICOSE VEINS - presence of enlarged and significant.
IV -- EAR CONDITIONS
7. HEARING - defective (see Part II of Instructions)
8. INFECTION - of middle ear or mastoid - acute; chronic condition isdisqualifying.
V -- EYE CONDITIONS
9. CHRONIC EYE CONDITION - e.g., glaucoma, cataract, chronic inflammation.
10. COLOR - If Ishihara test is used, incorrect reading of three ormore of the first 15 plates. (see Part I -- vision).
11. VISION - minimum of 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in other eye. Totalvision corrected to 20/20.
VI -- GASTRO-INTESTINAL CONDITIONS
12. HEMORRHOIDS - if significant, or other significant rectal conditions,e.g., fistula.
13. LIVER - enlargement or disease of, e.g., cirrhosis
14. PEPTIC - esophageal, gastric or duodenal ULCER - presence or historyof.
VII -- GENITO - URINARY CONDITIONS
15. DISEASE of the URINARY TRACT
16. ACUTE INFLAMMATORY CONDITION
17. SCROTAL MASS - significant - e.g., hydrocele, varicocele.
VIII -- HEIGHT
18. SHORT HEIGHT - minimum of 5'8" in bare feet is recommended; 5'7"may be accepted.
EXCESSIVE HEIGHT - Maximum height 6'5" in bare feet.
IX -- HERNIA
19. PRESENCE of, in any part of body: inguinal, internal, large umbilical,ventral; or tendency toward hernia.
X -- INFECTIONS AND PARASITIC DISEASES
20. ACUTE LOCAL INFECTIONS
21. VENEREAL DISEASE, (active)
XI -- METABOLIC DISEASE
XII -- MUSCULO - SKELETAL SYSTEM
A. Back and Joints
23. CONGENITAL MALFORMATION of back
24. DISEASE or INJURY of back, joints or muscles as revealed by examinationor x-ray. History of, e.g., arthritis, bursitis, myositis, osteomyelitis,tendinitis, repeated dislocation of a joint, etc.
25. LIMITATION of motion or function; weakness or lameness of back ofjoint.
26. OPERATION on bone, joint or spine, e.g., cartilage injury of knee.History of, disqualifies if any phase of this condition is unsatisfactoryto medical examiner.
27. SPINE - Significant abnormality of:
B. Upper Extremities
28. IMPAIRMENT of or absence of one finger on either hand.
29. IMPAIRED GRIP or function of hand.
30. LIMITATION of motion or function of shoulder, elbow, wrist or fingers.
C. Lower Extremities
31. LACK OF FULL FUNCTION of hip, knee, ankle, foot or toes.
32. DEFORMITY - symptomatic or disabling which may impair function offoot, e.g., third degree flat feet; ingrowing toenails, hammer toes, clawtoes, missing toes.
XIII -- NERVOUS SYSTEM
33. EPILEPSY, SEIZURES - presence or history of.
34. ALCOHOLISM or DRUG ADDICTION - presence or history of.
XIV -- RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
35. SINUSITIS - Significant extent to be determined by local examiner.
36. RESPIRATORY CONDITION - Chronic e.g., bronchitis, bronchiectasis,emphysema, fibrosis; significant extent to be determined by local examiner.
37. TUBERCULOSIS - history of significant clinical.
XV -- SPEECH
38. INARTICULATENESS or any marked speech defect, e.g., stuttering,except mild lisp, if so severe as to interfere with satisfactory performanceof duties.
XVI -- TEETH
39. UNCORRECTED CONDITION - where significant.
Properly fitting upper or lower partial or full dentures are permitted.Decayed or badly broken teeth or numerous missing teeth may be cause fordisqualification, although remediable defects allowable if corrected. (seePart I instructions.)
XVII -- URINE EXAMINATIONS
40. ALBUMINURIA, GLYCOSURIA or RENAL DIABETES
XVIII -- WEIGHT
41. OVERWEIGHT or UNDERWEIGHT
(see Part I chart and instructions on Height and Weight.)
XIX -- OTHER DEFECTS
42. The causes for disqualification are not limited by the above list of defects. As discovered from the survey to obtain this data, the medical examiner or examiners may put any question, make any examination and disqualify for any cause which in his or their opinion tends to impair the present or future health or fitness of the applicant in the performance or ordinary police duty.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCE MATERIAL
(Note: Select sites may change. Suggest using a search engine if site has changed)
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EBJacobs. " Law Enforcement Solutions: Physical and Medical Standards."
Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "Officer Employment Requirements."
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Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. "Physical Fitness Standards."
Kentucky Law Enforcement Council. Kentuck Department of Criminal Justice Training.
"Peace Officer Professional Standards Act."
MedTox Health Services. "Police Medical Standards."
Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Human Resources. "Article 36 - Education
Ohio Department of Public Safety. Ohio Investigative Unit. "Career Opportunities."
Smith, Stew. "USA - State Police Physical Fittness Assessment Standards for New Recruits."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "Pre-Employment Physical Fitness Test for Law Enforcement
Officer Positions Within the Office of Detention and Removal."
Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia. "Police Officer."
Wisconsin Department of Justice. "Employment Standards - Law Enforcement, Tribal Law
Enforcement, Jail and Secure Detention Officers."
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Law Enforcement Qualifications."