How One City's Police Officers and Firefighters Reduce Health Costs and Earn Bonuses
Police Officers in the US carry a burden of public stereotyping exacerbated by Hollywood and the media from the Keystone Cops of the Silent Movie Era to today's newscasts and TV dramas.The portrayal is one of fat cops sitting in donut shops and/or setting up and accepting payments for corrupt activities.
In the 2012 film Wreck It Ralph, a main character visits the world of of the video game Sugar Rush. All the characters and venues of the game are made of candy and sugar syrups. Inside that game, the character Ralph is pursued by the town's two police officers - two talking donuts with firearms and motor bikes: a cake donut with icing and an iced long john that together bring to mind the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy.
Police officers really do not want to maintain the stereotype that they are fat donut eaters that cannot protect the public. At least one police force in America is turning that stereotype around. Further, an increasing number of US States are holding a Police or Protective Services Olympics.
Olympic Events In the Ohio Protective Services' Annual Games
- The Ohio Police and Fire Games
In 2012, the Games' Silent Auction raised $715 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital! Several other charities received donations from event proceeds as well.
A fading pastime...
The Post-WWII Physical Fitness Movement, 1960 - 2010s
For decades, the American public has heard about the benefits of physical fitness in mental and physical health at school, in public service announcements and media play, and through their physicians. First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move project took the concept deep into our school systems, but first was President John F. Kennedy's Council On Sports and Fitness from the early 1960s. In the 1990s began the Healthy People Movement across our nation.
In the 2010s, at one city has increased the physical and mental health of its protective services employees through voluntary physical fitness activity. In addition, Columbus OH had reduced healthcare costs associated with their insurance plans for these employees to the extent that it pays workers at the top levels of a defined fitness rubric $900 for maintaining their physical fitness. A large majority of Columbus police officers actually earn this bonus since 2011 and they maintain voluntary individual physical fitness programs.
How Much Physical Fitness Does CPD Have?
In 1911, the Columbus Police Department was pleased that 1,300 officers out of 1,903 (68.4%) took the annual fitness test.
Of these, 1,289 earned the top annual fitness bonus offered by the Department and the City of Columbus: $900. They did this by participating in the Department's annual voluntary physical fitness test.
We all thank our innovative mayor, Mayor Michael B. Coleman for suggesting that useful incentives be offered for physical fitness among our police officers.When the union contract was last negotiated in 2008, the fitness incentive plan went into effect. All officers hired after 2008 must take the annual test, but it is still voluntary for everyone else. The Police Training Academy classes emphasize fitness, but the lifespan of the job now requires it for the new-hires of 2009 and beyond.
The Police Department maintains an onsite gym in its training academy for its members that is free for them to use.
The Fire Department maintains its own fitness criteria and examinations, including monthly weigh-ins; as do the State Highway Patrol, and many other police and fire divisions among cities and towns in Ohio.
CPD Entrance Physical Fitness Exam
CPD Entrance Exam for Physical Fitness, Examples
Age 29 or Younger
Age 40 to 49
300 Meter Run (roughly 2 city blocks)
Situps in 60 Seconds
Maximum # of Pushups Completed
300 Meter Run
Situps in 60 Seconds
Maximum # of Pushups Completed (straight legs)
The Annual CPD Annual Physical Fitness Test and Cash Awards
Cash Awards Per Fitness Level:
- $300, $600, and $900
Events by Criteria Per Gender (M, F) and Age Group (29 or Younger, 30-39, 40 - 49, 50 and older).
- Sit-and-Reach Test: A specific number of inches.
- Bench Press: A specific total-body-weight percent.
- Leg Press: A specific total-body-weight percent.
- Situps: A certain number competed in 30 seconds.
CPD Annual Fitness Exam Participants
Joining a Police Force
This website describes the Minimum Qualifications for joining the Columbus Ohio Police Department as an offer trainee. Aside from educational and age requirements and background checks, the CPD requires Physical Fitness Standards, including the cardiac stress test, for entrance into the local training academy. However, a study guide to use for all of the requirements, including suggested training to meet the physical standards is provided to interested individuals on the website. Once employed, officers can use the gym at the training academy for maintaining their fitness and earning cash bonuses on annual fitness tests.