Change Will Go Into Effect May 2019
On March 8th, the Marshfield Police and Fire Commission approved a revised police department physical fitness policy (number 1015), which will be implemented starting in May of 2019.
With the purpose of ensuring that all officers remain fit for duty and able to perform job functions, the policy outlines the responsibilities of both employees and supervisors on maintaining good physical condition sufficient to safely and properly carry out their roles.
“We don’t rely on what we have or haven’t done in the past, but what we may be asked to do…at any given time,” said Police Chief Rick Gramza. “It is our goal to always be prepared for the what-ifs, and a portion of this is preparing both mentally and physically for whatever crisis requires our response.”
Under the revised policy, Marshfield police and ordinance officers will be required to pass an annual job-specific fitness test as developed by a local vendor in conjunction with Marshfield Police Department.
The test will be a basic physical fitness test, including tasks specific to the city of Marshfield such as running a quarter-mile (the distance from one side of the senior high to the other), climbing over a 4-foot wall (the average fence height in the city), ascending and descending seven flights of stairs (equivalent to the tallest building in town), various weighted push and pull exercises (similar to removal of of items from the roadway), and other tasks synonymous with the job of a police officer.
“We ran sample tests twice in 2017 and had a 95% pass rate,” said Gramza. “Officers are expected to pass it and if they don’t, you are put on light duty and given three more months to pass it. Should the officer still not pass and there are no injuries or necessary disability accommodations, a separation of employment could occur.”
Per the policy, employees mandated to take the fitness test may present a doctor’s notice for exemption from the test, at which time the employee may be placed on a temporary light-duty assignment pending a successful retesting. A related “return to work job function test” will be implemented in May 2019 under the new policy when one returns from an extended injury-related leave.
“This is long overdue in the profession” stated Chief Gramza. “A health standard that should be expected of all protective service employees nation-wide.”