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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Physical Ability Testing (PAT) Project

The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) and the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) are working with a group of our members on an exciting, new, and much-needed project. We are taking on the area of pre-hire fitness testing for police officers.

This is an issue that can be confusing for departments, as the type of testing needs to be both validated to the requirements of the job and to ensure it is not discriminatory. It’s also an area where police leadership and cities’ human resource directors can get tripped up by the federal rules that apply, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A survey of their membership conducted for us by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association indicated:

  • 40% of the respondents do not do any type of physical testing and rely on the skills school experience and/or the pre-hire medical examination
  • 29% are doing their own in-house testing
  • 23% contract with an outside firm for the testing
  • 8% indicated they use other means to assess the applicant’s level of fitness

The survey matched information we learned from the POST board staff, and from the many inquiries and questions we received from our membership.

Based on their level of interest, a steering committee has been established consisting of police chiefs (or their designees) and staff from city human resources departments. Our in-house committee members draw from the League’s human resources department, legal staff, workers’ compensation supervisors, loss control staff, and law enforcement coordinators.

It is the committee’s goal to provide a model for testing that could be adapted to fit the needs of departments of different sizes. And like all model policies, it will not be mandatory. 

I will provide periodic updates as the work progresses.

Up next: A County Police Chiefs' Meeting

Stay safe,
Rob