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Police Forces Forging Policy On Fitness Standards

Creve Coeur and Olivette are among more than a dozen agencies expected to partne on a program that will test police at all levels and validate the results.

The city of Creve Coeur already requires all police officers to participate in a program that tests their ability to perform all job functions and to be involved in "Physical fitness awareness activities. Exercises or activities designed to make officers aware of their strengths, weaknesses and physical capabilities," according to department procedures.

The ability to pass those tests or re-acquire a skillset already has an impact on an officer's ability to get a pay raise, or to keep their job.

But under a project being led by the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association, participating police agencies, including Creve Coeur and potentially Olivette, hundreds of police officers in the area would have those physical abilities tested and validated in a way that would hold up in court.

"The failure to adequately assess officers in this area can have a profound impact on agencies and their ability to deliver effective policing services to those they have sworn to serve and protect," a Creve Coeur Police department memo on the program said.

Police Chief Glenn Eidman recently told Creve Coeur City Council members not having a policy in place puts a department at risk of "negligently" retaining an officer who cannot perform the duties as prescribed.

The cost of participating in the validation program is roughly $3,500 per department after a pair of grants from the St. Lousi Area Police Chiefs Association and the St. Louis Area Insurance Trust.

Olivette City Council members heard about the program from Police Chief Richard Knox during a Tuesday work session and are likely to take it up for approval Tuesday. Knox pointed out how important it was for everyone, from patrol to senior staff, to be involved in the project. Only a few hours earlier, he had been on the scene with other officers aiding an Olivette Police Sergeant who's vehicle was struck in an accident just a few hours earlier.

Officers form the participating agencies will have a role in the development of the test, which won't be finished until the third quarter of next year. It would not be required for another 3 years.

Patch reached out to several Fraternal Order of Police orgnanizations about the validation program. None have returned messages seeking comment.

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