Date of Conferral







James Herndon


Police officer applicants need to be in top physical condition and must pass a physical

ability test in order to be accepted into the police academy. However, many police

departments do not require incumbent police officers to take such tests after passing the

academy, even though the job requirements may not change. Research has documented

the importance of police officer fitness and its applicability to their work. Separate

studies have also shown the benefit of organizational wellness programs to employees.

There is a gap in the literature, however, regarding police officer perceptions of physical

fitness as it relates to police work and about department provided wellness programs. The

purpose of this study was to understand what concerns police officers have about health

and job performance and to determine how important they believe wellness programs are

in aiding them to remain in proper physical condition. This study referred to the theory of

planned behavior to understand the behavior of police officers regarding fitness. This

phenomenological study used 20 personal interviews of suburban Illinois police officers

that were inductively coded and analyzed for emergent themes. The key findings revealed

that police officers felt a need for police departments to implement policies regarding

physical fitness standards throughout all stages of their careers. The results revealed a

need to provide more education so the officers can make better informed decisions

regarding their fitness. Positive social change may result if police officers recognize the

need for health and fitness and understand how being fit could prepare them for greater

usefulness in serving the community, thereby leading to a reduction of injuries, medical

claims, and early retirement.

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