So, why do they refuse to run 1 ½ miles, do bench presses, or live through sit-ups?
Well, for one thing, such extra exertions didn’t sit well with their Fraternal Order. Dean Angelo is the president and he said (basically) the $350 was chickenfeed.
For another thing, union bigwigs, back in 2002, said (basically) thanks, but no thanks, to City Hall’s idea of minimum fitness standards. And, for a third thing, the force may be feeling way too besieged and too beleaguered to worry about backs, biceps, and buttocks, what with half the USA thinking they are trigger happy and the other half thinking they are cover-up cronies.
Heck, even email-private-server-under-FBI-investigation, Hillary Clinton, wants the police probed by the feds for its white-cop-black-suspect dynamics. (The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation.)
And a quick glance at the first page of the CPD’s official website, besides having an Online Services tab which features said services IN NO ALPHABETICAL ORDER whatsoever - has many criminal community alerts and nothing about physical fitness of those men and women paid to serve. And, quite possibly, many members don’t care a whit for their health for reasons god knows why...all of these things contradicting one of their stated core values being “...excellence as our standard.”
It’s not like the force doesn’t believe in fitness for some of its staff. Back in 2013 when the force was hiring, entrants had to do, um, a 1 ½ mile run, some sit-ups and a bench press. So rookies would rock, only to become veterans going soft...
Incentive, that $350, may be lacking. The police are paid well, compared to most Americans. Granted, the job probably has stress levels through the ozone, but after 18 months on the job they take in over $65,000
Moreover, who cares if one gets sick? They get paid sick leave and have healthcare and pension plans. Cushy. Easier to be a couch potato than to be a calisthenics aficionado. They’d fit right in with British Bobbies, many of whom fail their annual fitness tests and with the Canadian military, of whom some 70% were overweight in 2007-2008.
We must be balanced here. I fairness, the CPD does have a fitness award. Here’s what a member must do to get it.
“Presented to any Department sworn member, in addition to the Department Emblem of Recognition, wherein the member has participated voluntarily, during off-duty hours, in a fitness agility test to determine the (sic) members level of physical fitness and has received a passing score on the exam.”
And in one brief CPD documentary video where members of the force talk about what it takes to become a member, there is a weight room in the background - and while no one is lifting - one guy is jogging on a running machine and another guy is sitting on a bench, looking somewhat ready to do...something.
Not a very high bar though, huh?
There is a direct tie between physical health and mental health. If the force worked to improve the former, the latter would benefit and perhaps their motivations, morale, and mores would improve. The police feel they are being made scapegoats, by politicians and media, for all that bedevils that city – not a good framework to base one’s working shift on while reporting for duty.
Now, it would be a reach too far to think that a healthier force could help solve racial animus between community and cops but it sure wouldn’t hurt. We all know that when we feel better about ourselves our relations improve with everyone in our milieu. There is no reason to believe that police members wouldn’t experience the same results.
The police force may have a “code of silence” according to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, but their reluctance to engage in their physical well being speaks louder than words.