Year of Publication

2005

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Statement of Problem

HB 455 brought about the 1998 Omnibus Crime Act which created the Police Officer Professional Standards;16 requirements to becoming a peace officer in Kentucky. Five of the standards defined minimum physical agility standards. Though physical agility testing has had a history of controversy, validation studies have been created to support this practice. Though officers are testing for a level of physical agility upon entering the police officer field in Kentucky, no statewide policy has been passed to ensure that this level be maintained. This study examines the presence of physical agility testing in Kentucky police departments and the level of current agility levels of all sworn, full-time officers.

Research Question

The purpose of the study is to answer:

What percentage of full-time, sworn officers in Kentucky police departments could pass the Police Officer Professional Standards’ physical agility test?

This study will identify the departments that have recurring physical agility testing, what the department heads feel about physical agility testing, the number of officers in the agencies, the amount of gym time allocation provided by agencies, and the relationships between these variables.

Methodology

A self-created survey was sent to all police departments in Kentucky (N=286). The response rate was 54.2 percent (n=155). The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation, and linear regression models.

Results

The study found that 22 police departments employee recurring physical agility testing. There was there was little statistical significance between officers ability to pass the POPS testing and a departments’ institution of recurring agility tests. Responses indicate that a range of 58.5 – 72.7 percent of Kentucky police officers could pass the physical agility test.

Recommendations

The subjectivity of the response to officers passing the agility test was a limitation of this study. This study was dependent on an agency head’s ability to access the performance levels of his or her officers without actually testing the officers. Because of this, the major recommendation from this study is for future research. Actual testing of a sample of officers from the police departments in Kentucky would create of more accurate depiction of the physical agility levels of officers.

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