Date of Conferral
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.
Chism, Ellen M., "Police Officer Perception of Wellness Programs" (2016). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 3147.