Physical Agility Test Assessment
"Greetings to all,
We are in the process of developing a new physical agility assessment for entry and post employment. This new assessment will be based on job/task specific requirements. I have chosen you all to help us establish this new assessment. This is only the first meeting and the purpose of this meeting is to gather some input from you. Please make arrangements to have the Officers attend this meeting on Monday October 8, 2012 at 9am."
I attended the October 8th meeting, and I have to have some input by this coming Monday. I think the only job specific task I had when I applied was a trigger pull with left and right hands. Everything else were the situps, pushups, distance run, etc. So since it is only job specific now, we have to come up with these tasks. After all of the mumbo jumbo at first in the meeting, initially we've come up a car push, 300 meter run, jumping over a fence, jumping through a window and a body drag. Remember, as much as I would love for these tasks to weed out the riff raff, it seems like most will be able to pass due to potential lawsuits. Any suggestions?
We found that quantitative testing worked much better than nominal pass-fail testing.
We went with the Cooper Institute L.E. standards for testing and it provides a scientific and medical based standard for hiring standards. Example - we never had a performance problem with people who could test at 65 percentile or better, but the numbers shot up dramatically when the numbers approached or were at the stated hiring minima, 50 per cent. Some near the minima had the determination to get through and some simply gave up. Hired recruits that give up are expended tax resources with no realized return.
The quantitative testing model proved more successful in identifying those who were in the 'warning zone' and were given additional recommendations to be successful.
The problem with basic pass/fail tests are that they have to be 'dumbed down' and minimized to prevent injuries and legal challenges in courts by unsuccessful job candidates. Example - the wall climb. It is a physiologic fact that mean numbers of female applicants have a lower amount of upper body strength in comparison to an equivalent pool of male applicants, so any testing protocol relying on this exam as part of the testing battery, will likely be considered inherently biased against female applicants by the Courts.
Body drag testing is similar. Are you using a human body to test with [a volunteer specifically instructed to remain physically neutral throughout testing], a weighted sack or bag representation, an inexpensive dummy designed for these tests, or an anthropomorphic representation that is carefully designed to mimic human range of motion? Are you using multiple dummies selected through a random lottery to show the variable size and mass of humans? If every dummy is a 200 pound nylon bag with no human shape, if every dummy is rubber coated and is smooth with no clothing [designed to prevent injury], or a real human test subject is used... well, the challenge points should be evident for anyone considering the test.
Avoiding the Court sanction[s] have proved to be as challenging as selecting a qualified recruit and can be far more expensive in the short to medium term than simply hiring anyone who can fit through a standard door frame and hoping they can pass the PT standards.
Too many young applicants simply believe that because they played football as a 320 pound offensive lineman, they are physically able to be a cop throughout their lives. The opposite is also true in that a 100 pound female whose life experience is solely academic and office work, must be aware that they need a significant amount of upper body strength to restrain combative people.
Applicants know that they 'want' to be officers/deputies/troopers... but increasing numbers of them are not prepared to compete for the jobs available. Our American culture of increasingly equal outcomes clearly imply that applicants are showing up and expecting to do absolute minimums in order to 'pass' and realize their dream. They have months or years to physically or mentally prepare, yet they prepare to the minimum standard or not at all. They believe that simply having a high school diploma/GED and passing rudimentary pass/fail exams makes them 'highly qualified' or 'exceptionally qualified' for the job.
Your job is to establish and maintain a Court reviewable and acceptable testing protocol, based on clearly statable and defensible standards. It isn't easy or as clearly defined as a pass/fail test.
I agree with blueiron that the job-related tasks have to be legally defensible. For instance...in a dummy drag if you choose a 200lb dummy, why did you choose a 200lb dummy as opposed to a 150lb dummy? If you have them do an obstacle course where you have to climb a fence, why did you choose a 6 foot wall instead of a 4 foot fence? Stuff like that is where all the crazy studies and tests come into play.
I could be a wiseguy and list a handful of "job related" tasks....oh hell, why not? :)
You must have the flexibility to bend over and reach between the center console and your seat to retrieve your pen you dropped in the middle of writing a citation.
You must have the stamina to stand upright in one position. Extend your left arm in front of you with the palm facing up and continuously bring the palm toward your chest and back down again. Extend your right arm straight out to your side. Continue to do this for 2 hours. This will simulate directing traffic during special events or on an accident scene.
Walk up 3 flights of stairs at a brisk pace without looking like you're going to pass out when you get to the top. This will simulate responding to the loud noise complaint on the 3rd floor of an apartment building.
Put on a standard duty belt with simulated equipment (gun, oc, baton, radio, flashlight, taser). Enter a standard sized bathroom stall and attempt to drop trow without getting stuck or dropping your crap all over the floor.
From a parking spot in the PD parking lot, grab a gear bag and sprint to the station door as fast as possible. This will simulate either a) arriving 30 seconds before roll call or b) getting back to the station after a late call and having 5 minutes to get to the start of your kid's ball game or school play.
blueiron and jpa, thanks for that informative response. I will certainly use your information.
When I started, Cooper were our standards, and I thought we were still using them. Two academy staff members were at this meeting, and their knowledge of what is going on around the nation with LEO post and pre-employment assessment standards left all of us regular folk in the dust. We still don't know why we little folk were summoned since the academy staff already have the latest knowledge in this matter. We were told me had to rid our minds of past assessments of any kind, especially of the military kind.
One of our agency's main concerns was our lack of female officers. I'm evidently a dinosaur when it comes to this but I just want the best people to pass, not caring of their sex. Just like in firefighting, if there are people who can run up several flights of stairs wearing a full fire suit and a Scott Airpack, carrying a very heavy hose and ax, I don't care if it is a man or a woman, just as long as they can do the job effectively. So it goes with me in my ancient ideas of LEO standards.
Another issue our new assessments, other than being job specific, have to be agency specific. We are just a regular LEO agency but with no bodies of water so swimming won't be on any of our assessments. Our most basic idea for this new assessment is to start out sitting seat belted in a unit. When the clock starts, the person leaves the unit, performs the unknown-at-this time-tasks and then re-enters the unit at the end.
The academy staff brought up the fact that since they want to be agency specific, they will have to have a baseline of the people wanting to take the assessment. I brought up the fact that many will sandbag to lower the standards but I was told the sense of competition would allow that to not be a factor. I still don't believe that.
Again, not to degrade women, but I still don't see how we can have a one standard-fits-all assessment which is age and sex blind but still allows women and/or our pre-dinosaurs to pass while there are younger, fitter males dominating the assessment.
My best friend recently told me about a test he took that involved getting to look at a picture, with a little more info, like the name, right before taking the test, and after finishing had to answer some questions.
I thought that remarkable, because it is a test that measures a genuine part of police work.
See if you can get in touch with Ryan O'Farrell at Cuyahoga Community College (Parma, OH). He is basically running the standardized Physical Fitness Test for most of Cuyahoga County Agencies.
Instead of different agencies all doing different things, they all came together and set up a standardized physical test and Ryan runs it out of the college. All applicants after passing the written are sent to his physical test. It seems to be working out okay as it's been years and years. I think that was 2005 or 2006 that it was set up and it's still running.
I was there at the beginning when it was all set up but I've been too busy to help out anymore.
see if you can d/l that PDF, it explains the test.
i don't remember it being gender specific, everyone does the same thing.
it's not exactly that hard. when i was helping out, we had some young'uns who complained that the run couldn't be done. I advised him that when I was testing back in the day, we had 11:30 to do the 1.5 mile. 16+ minutes is nothing. so at age 32, while in work boots and carrying a gun, mags, cuff, i ran the dang 1.5 mile in just over 12 minutes. the 23 yr old couldn't finish it in 16+. for shame.
i told him don't even bother trying to make the DEA run.
this was better than our old physical i took for my current department. back then, we were under ADA mandate because some person sued because she couldn't pass the physical. our PT test at that time was: (and I kid you not)
WALK up and down a flight of stairs. No time limit.
Run around the track once (1/4 mile). No time limit.
Exit police car, close door, WALK, do not run, 100 feet, go up two steps, open door, go up two steps, open door, pick up briefcase (10 lbs), WALK all the way back to the car, open door, get in it, put briefcase on passenger seat, close door.
this was after a study was completed on what our officers did.
I was in the last year of the mandate and I was shocked. I thought they were joking with us.
we have in house yearly physicals which aren't that hard, but we still have to pass them. for some reason, it is age specific (20-29, 30-39, etc) and gender specific (females do less push ups and sit ups but have less time for the run)
i think the min for 20-20 yr olds are 25 push ups, 20 situps, stretch +1" past your toes, and 2:00? for I think the 1/4 mile run.
Geez I liked the old days...climb the wall a long run etc. the job requires you to be better fit than than the 40% that are obese in this nation.
I would set the test up using goals that are relativistic
For example females are smaller and have 57% of the strength of a male. If I did the drag test I would allow for that. The expectation would be to give the best scores to the candidates of both sexes. I do like the FBI tests the best and I like the core testing emphasized. pull-up, climbing, sit-ups the run...pretty basic but a solid test of functional ability
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Happypuppy and series1811, we have another meeting later this month, and I will bring up the responses I get from this thread.
Happypuppy, I was told the relativistic Cooper standards are out. I was in the USMC in the '80s. There, men had to do pullups while women did hangs. Also, men had to do the 3 mile run when the women only did the 1.5. It has changed now but I wouldn't doubt there are still relativistic standards. Again, I was told to block out the military and Cooper standards.
North Carolina's POPAT is nice
The POPAT consists of:
Applicant is given two street names before beginning.
Exit vehicle and advance 200 yards on foot.
Remove victim from vehicle and drag body 50 feet.
Scale staircase (up & down) 3 times while touching all steps.
Advance 25 feet to negotiate a 50 pound body force door.
Complete 20 push-ups & 20 sit-ups (in that order).
Return 25 feet to scale staircase (up & down) three times.
Advance 25 feet to 40-foot culvert & crawl completely through using flashlight.
Complete 20 push-ups & 20 sit-ups (in that order). Advance 200 yards on foot.
The applicant will then grab the victim (standing by the vehicle) and drag the victim 50 feet.
The applicant will then give the two street names in the same order they were given at the start of the test. Once this is completed, the clock will stop. (If the applicant does not remember the street names, he/she will have to advance 100yds and return 100 yards to the corner of the steps; then, the clock will stop.)
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what is the time limit(S)
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For entry we have a obstacle course as follows:
On a regulation basketball court for reference
1. Start on sideline on knees
2. Sprint to opposite sideline and jump a 6 foot fence
3. Sprint back to original end line where an "A" frame stair structure is set-up 8 stairs up, 8 stairs down. Complete 7 reps (I think ha)
4. Power Training Machine placed against wall. Pull out 180 lbs and run with it for a half circle - 2 reps. Push in 180 lbs. - 2 reps
5. Sprint around center of court 3 laps
6. 200 lb. dummy drag across width of court
7. 15 trigger pulls with strong and weak hand, gun must be inside 12" metal ring and can at no point touch the ring.
Passing time is 2:55. Duty belt and vest worn during test.
Sorry if the PTM machine part is confusing, the video on our site is down I'll try and turn it up (might just be safari browser, worked with firefox). We also have a yearly PT test and officers have an option of the obstacle course or 1.5 mi run/ptm machine/grip strength test. In addition to the obstacle course applicants must pass the cooper test prior to hire, but at a later date than the obstacle course.
You may want to contact Oregon's DPSST, they spent a ton of money, time, and research working on the ORPAT and now it is the standard for the state.
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