Physical standards for police could change

By Bethany Knipp

Local police officers’ job descriptions could soon become more specific concerning physical requirements.

Riley County Police Department director Brad Schoen and members of the Riley County Law Board discussed the issue at Tuesday’s meeting.

Schoen said adding physical requirements to job descriptions for current police, corrections officers and applicants would save money in the long run by reducing workman’s compensation costs through the screening.

It would also save money by ensuring the right applicants were hired, he said.

Schoen said that at the moment, RCPD isn’t that stringent about the annual physical test because it’s not tied firmly to job descriptions. Schoen also said the physical requirements considered “essential functions” of the job were undergoing review because some people have been injured taking the test.

“Over the years, we’ve had everything from knees blown out, shoulders blown out, ankles twisted and – I think – one broken ankle,” he said.

He said these injuries all happened as a result having to climb a six-foot wall.

The new test that officers will have to pass will be put in place in 2015.

RCPD’s legal counsel, Mike Gillespie, agreed with Schoen and said as they stand now, job descriptions are too vague.

He said hiring a third party to administer physical tests would cost $150 an hour and require an estimated 40 hours.

“I think we would all be remiss if we didn’t spend that money on this test,” Gillespie said.

When board member Wynn Butler asked if not passing the test meant that some officers would have to be let go, Schoen said they would because they wouldn’t be fit for duty.

Board members didn’t vote on the issue because it was only scheduled for discussion. The law board also unanimously approved the purchase of a police vehicle and heard an update about court security.









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