A large number of police officers across the Washington, D.C., region aren’t getting physical exams, a concern to some officials at a time when the rate of police disability payments is soaring, says the Washington Examiner. Last year in Montgomery County, Md., which adjoins the capital, one in four police officers missed the mandatory county physicals intended to determine their fitness for duty. In 2007, there were 759 officers due for exams, but Montgomery’s Occupational Medical Services saw only 561, or 74 percent. Said County Council Vice President Phil Andrews: “We have this to catch problems early and help people avoid potentially life threatening illnesses and also to ensure people remain in physical shape that is adequate to do their jobs.” There is no requirement for midcareer health exams in the populous suburb of Prince George’s County, Md.
More than half the county’s police officers who retired in the past three years are receiving disability payments. In Fairfax County, Va., another big Washington, D.C., suburb, 75 percent of the force has volunteered for a wellness program that requires officers to get annual medical check ups regardless of age. Virginia counties reported repercussions for missing physicals that could eventually lead to an officer’s dismissal.