The United States’ New York Police Department (NYPD) has yet again lowered its requirement for new recruits as it moved to scrap its 1.5-mile (2.4 km) at the police academy, the training Chief Juanita Holmes told the New York Post. The move has since sparked debate among department officials with many weighing in about the so-called controversial move.
According to Holmes, the move will make it easier for female applicants to become a part of the NYPD. Notably, this also comes months after the department dramatically relaxed its police fitness test after a record wave of retirements. Furthermore, the head of training has also insisted that the timed run which needs to be completed by the men and women in 14 minutes and 21 seconds is not necessary to become an officer.
“No cop on patrol runs a mile and a half…No one’s chasing anyone a mile and a half. Not to mention every day in the gym you’re doing a mile and a half (as part of training)”, said Holmes to the Post. She added that this requirement holds back otherwise qualified candidates, particularly women.
However, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and now-retired Chief Kenneth Corey were against the move and took the matter up with the city’s Mayor Eric Adams, who reportedly agreed with Holmes. Therefore, now the only physical fitness criterion to become a part of the NYPD is the Job Standard Test (JST) which is a multi-step course which needs to be completed in four minutes and 28 seconds.
Notably, the NYPD has not responded to specific questions about the requirement in question as well as the move to scrap it and said that the JST meets the training standards required by the state. “To date, the NYPD is in compliance with the physical fitness standards set by the (state’s Municipal Police Training Council). The requirements to complete the daily physical training and tactics of our Police Academy, including running nearly every day, remains unchanged,” reported the Post.
This has also led many to question the fitness of the levels of the cops in the NYPD. “Cops are already out of shape. What’s going to be coming in here now?” said one police officer from Manhattan. While Eugene O’Donnell, professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former NYPD cop, speaking to the Post blamed the move on the “defund the police” movement.
He added, “They’re the ones that did this, and they’re the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of a department where the utterly unfit are all that’s left in the pool.” O’Donnell also told the Post how this decision is not driven by research but “sheer desperation” and how there is nothing but “disadvantages to public safety from this decision.”
Similarly, City Councilman Robert Holden said that he was worried about New York making it too easy to become a police officer and suggested giving more time to recruits to finish the run rather than just scrapping it entirely. “I think there’s more women that are fit than men! I’ve seen cops that are not fit and they can’t run more than one block – they are at a distinct disadvantage if they’re not fit,” said Holden, as per The Post.
This also comes after a six-foot wall inside the Police Academy gym was replaced with a chain-link fence which is said to be easier to climb, as per the report which cited a cellphone video showing multiple out-of-shape cops trying and failing to scale the barrier.
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