Sheriff Implements Fitness Standards for New Hires
Issued 01/07/13 by John Schulz, Public Information Officer
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith has implemented new physical fitness standards for new sworn personnel hired after January 1. The Sheriff is pleased to announce that his fitness standards team, led by Sergeants Jeff Vanhook and Mark Hertz, has completed the implementation of physical hiring standards for all deputy applicants. "This process took longer than any of us had anticipated to complete, but we wanted to make sure we implemented this in the right way." Sheriff Smith said.
The Sheriff's goals in implementing the new standards were to assure that deputies were even better prepared to handle the rigorous physical demands of the job, reduce costly and debilitating on-the-job injuries and keep overall employee healthcare costs down throughout the agency.
Prior to taking office, Sheriff Smith emphasized his commitment to improved health and fitness standards throughout the Sheriff's office. This commitment was demonstrated the day the Sheriff was sworn in when he led a group of supporters on a four-mile run, in sub-zero temperatures, from the Sheriff's office to the county courthouse for his swearing-in ceremony. The hiring process in place previously included a medical exam and other testing but had no physical fitness standards.
In the past two years, Sheriff Smith has overseen the completion of a physical training room and an enhanced wellness center at the Sheriff's headquarters building to provide a better training environment to assure that deputies are properly trained and prepared to handle the physical confrontations that they encounter in their jobs. Additionally, Sheriff Smith assembled a team of agency members who coordinated an inaugural four-mile charity run, the Jail Break 4 Mile Run, last September. That run raised more than $10,000 to benefit the Child Advocacy Center.
The fitness standards team utilized a validated study which other law enforcement agencies have tested to implement a "same job, same standard" policy which applies equally to both males and females. The new standards will apply to newly-hired sworn personnel in both patrol and jail positions.
New sworn personnel will now be required to demonstrate their physical fitness by:
· Running one and a half miles in 15-1/2 minutes or less
· Sprinting 300 meters in under 66 seconds
· Performing 25 pushups in under one minute
· Performing 30 sit-ups in under one minute
Physical fitness standards for existing personnel will be phased in on a voluntary basis over time using an incentive system.
The Sheriff's fitness standards team was assisted in developing the new policy by the Larimer County Attorney's office and Larimer County Risk Management.