New testing will soon weed out poorly educated and out-of-shape Oklahoma law enforcement recruits, The Oklahoman reports. Some communities might face an uphill climb staffing their departments. Starting with the January 2010 class, all enrollees in the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training's basic academy will have to pass fitness and reading comprehension tests. The agency’s Steve Emmons said it still is working out how to implement the additional requirements. “People are going to fail,” Emmons said. “The big picture is some Oklahoma communities already have a difficult time staffing.”
Emmons said the agency is working to make sure the tests won't make that problem worse. The physical fitness test will likely be in the form of an obstacle course and the reading and writing test a written exam. The law requires all recruits be screened and score at least 70 percent. Stacey Puckett of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police said it's already a challenge to operate a force in this economy, especially in rural towns. If an officer isn't fit or literate, the officer could be a further liability to the force and community.