Jack Catchem.com

Stop The Gender Biased Police Physical Fitness Tests!

Halt! PoliceOne.com (CNN for cops) just blew my mind. A judge decided police physical fitness tests are GENDER BIASED. This must stop! Social Justice Warriors ASSEMBLE!

I don’t always go to the Hoe Garden, but when I do, I bring backup.

Per the article, some insane Colorado Police Department instituted a mandatory physical fitness test and lady cops failed out in a disproportionate number to the men. The department promptly started firing some of them. Personally, some departments should spend more time worrying about the risk management dangers presented by bad leadership, but lets use this to talk about the reigning absurdity of policing: police physical fitness. It’s controversial because we don’t need it.

I’m no Jim Donahue, but here’s what I’m bringing to the table. Combat Veteran & I’ve been a cop for almost a decade. Here is a sad truth about policing. The vast majority of the time, no physical fitness is required. Can you get into and out of a car swiftly? Can you stand for two hours while making notes? Can you sit and type for hours on end? You too can be a cop, MOST of the time.

Here’s the crux of the matter: are you willing to die when that 1% event happens to you? If you are willing to sacrifice your body and that of your partner on the altar of your lack of athleticism, who are we to say you can’t be cops?

I don’t judge. You are free to make your own sacrifices. Like this guy: traded his freedom for an old enchilada.

A judge (who doesn’t have physical requirements) found this to be discriminatory since the lady cops were failing.

Instead of railing against his decision, I propose a Police physical fitness test which will not discriminate on gender. It will focus solely on job performance attributes which are likely to occur during a 1% encounter. Unlike simple running times or Feats of Strength, I think it should answer the question of “Should you Cop” or not. (It should also be done in full duty gear).

Jack Catchem’s Police Physical Fitness Test

The test has four events. It is not timed. It begins when an instructor walks up and shoves you starting the:

1) Fall over / get up. Because if you can’t get up off the ground, why are we even here. Pass/Fail.

2) 200 meter chase. That drunk punk just shoved a cop. Chase him. (Why 200 meters? If you didn’t catch him in the first 200 meters are you honestly going to try, or just set up a dam perimeter already?) Pass/Fail.

3) 60 Second Clutch and Scream. (I’m really good at this one) You versus the Red Man suit. You don’t have to win the fight, you just need to still be in it after 60 seconds is up. Because once you catch the suspect, do you really do anything else until backup arrives? Extra points for high pitch.

4) HandCuff and Search Event. Can you perform the signature Finishing Move of policing after this little test or are you going to lose your mind and just swing away?

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Congratulations. If you can do this, you can handle 99.5% of policing calls. Conversely, if you couldn’t even do this, why keep pretending. Go inside the station. There’s usually plenty of work there.

I’m not a labor law attorney, so I can’t speak to the legality of such a test. My argument is IF women failed this at a greater rate then men, it is less likely to be discriminatory because it directly relates to job performance instead of an esoteric picture of police physical fitness. If this topic interests you, check copblue.com for an excellent analysis of the unneccessary focus on “running” by a true guru, Jim Donahue.

Readers: is my test less gender biased? Should we even have police physical fitness requirements? Do you have a better test or events to propose? Let me know in the comments!


  1. C. O. Gnoman

    I like the test. Personally, I hold myself to a higher standard. I do a 400 meter sprint because I’m blessed with the genetics to be fast enough to catch 95% of people when they run, and most people die out right about the 400 meter mark. Then I do a 120 second clutch and scream and roll, because sometimes backup is a little further away, and I add the roll to help stay on top.

    In all seriousness though, I believe In training for the 1%. But that’s a personal decision I make, and again I have the genetics for it. My wife was considering becoming a firefighter in Los Angeles, where there academy is very physically demanding, and the job maybe 10% of the time is as well. She worked her ass off and was in phenomenal shape, but she worked out 6 days a week for 2 to 3 hours a day. She has was never a good runner, and although she could crossfit and lift faster and more weight than the majority of the names, she was always in the back during a long run (borderline on tge passing run time for the 1.5 mile times run).

    One of the physical fitness tests for firefighting is job related, where you are wearing a weight vest and performing successive activities which simulate things you might do in a fire. But even that test is not a realistic representation of what actually happens. It’s not easy for women because of the strength component, but it is doable with a lot of hard work. Thankfully it is not required once you get hired.

    Long story short, I think physical fitness is great. I think police and fire should strive to maintain some semblance of physical fitness. I think a job related phisical fitness test would be better than push ups and pull ups. But I dont think it should be required.

    1. Jack (Post author)

      Lol. Way to add the roll of success.

      There’s nothing like making something mandatory to bring the lawyers out of the bushes. This is a good idea, let’s make EVERYONE do this…then the lawsuit lands.

  2. Cash Flow Celt

    I was lazy and didn’t read the article cited; however, could it potentially have to do with the fact that departments don’t mandate the physical requirement once they have a badge? I know with my agency most of our guys are pretty fit, but we just have a voluntary physical fitness test to cash out PTO. If it’s only a job requirement for entry, and not to remain on the force, I could see how a discrimination claim could be placed.

    To your four tests though, my God I would pay to watch hapless trainees roll around with the red main suit and squeal for 60 seconds. #DispatcherRevenge
    Cash Flow Celt recently posted…How to be a Happy and Successful Working ParentMy Profile


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