Police physical fitness plan possible

By Daron Walker

Beginning in 1988, DeKalb Police Department personnel could be required to participate in a health maintenance program outlined by the Police Training Institute.

Commission Chairman Richard Anderson said the new health plan, once adopted at the December meeting, will go into effect Jan. 1.

“This isn’t a physical fitness program, it’s a health maintenance program,” Anderson said.

DeKalb Police Chief Joe Maciejewski said requiring officers to participate in an off-duty physical fitness program would not be effective because it would be “cost prohibitive.”

“The cost factor (for a physical fitness program) is way out of line,” Maciejewski said.

Maciejewski said the PTI plan is similar to the one currently in use by the department.

“It is pretty much like the tests we have now,” he said.

One aspect in which the PTI health program test is different from the department’s current program is that it contains a 1uu mile run, Maciejewski said.

Maciejewski said the PTI health program tests are scaled to represent different age groups.

Anderson said the commission, once the new health program is adopted, could take action against officers who fail the health tests.

“If he (individual officer) can’t pass the standard, we can take punitive action,” Anderson said.

Anderson said officers who fail the health tests could be suspended.

Commission member Veneda Starnes said the consequences for failing the health tests set up by the PTI program “should be more of an incentive than a punitive type of thing.”

Maciejewski said the PTI program is designed to protect officers who could suffer health problems from entering high-stress situations. He said he is concerned about the health of officers who enter these stress-filled situations.

“It would be in the best interests of the department to pass this test,” he said.