Some 2,500 Chicago police officers have passed a physical fitness test this year, the Chicago Tribune says. For the second consecutive year, officers were eligible for a $250 bonus if they could run, stretch, and lift enough to demonstrate they are physically fit. The goal is to encourage the force–often maligned for being out of shape–to slim down. Most of the department’s 13,500 officers don’t take the test; all but 8 percent who do pass.
Sgt. Jackie Campbell, program coordinator, said that comparing the pass rate “to the doughnut-eating overweight cop, you’d have to say that’s just a stereotype.” When the city offered the $250 bonus last year, the number of officers who took the test jumped from a few hundred to 2,618. This year, 2,756 took the test; 2,541 passed. To pass, officers must finish in the 30th percentile or better in four categories: a 1.5-mile run, bench press, sit-ups, and a flexibility test. A 40-year-old man must complete the run in 15 minutes and 24 seconds, do 28 sit-ups, bench-press 79 percent of his body weight and reach a certain distance in the flexibility test. The standards vary based on sex and age.
Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, would like to see a bigger bonus–something that would persuade overweight police officers to get in shape.