Relationship of Physical Fitness Measures vs. Occupational Physical Ability in Campus Law Enforcement Officers

Annie Q. Beck, Jody L. Clasey, James W. Yates, Nicole C. Koebke, Thomas G. Palmer, Mark G. Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Law enforcement officers (LEOs) on university campuses are required to perform a variety of physical occupational tasks. Identifying which physical fitness characteristics are associated with these occupational tasks will assist in the development of appropriate exercise programs and physical fitness assessments. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify physical fitness and demographic characteristics that were correlated with occupational tasks commonly performed by campus LEOs. The occupational assessment was conducted using an Officer Physical Ability Test (OPAT), which simulated a foot chase of a suspect. Sixteen male LEOs (age: 33.1 ± 8.7 years; body mass: 87.2 ± 11.2 kg; height: 179.0 ± 7.9 cm) performed the OPAT. A battery of physical fitness tests were used to assess aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, strength, power, flexibility, agility, and body composition. Bivariate correlations were performed to identify significant (p ≤ 0.05) correlations between physical fitness characteristics and OPAT time. The officers' age was significantly correlated to the majority of OPAT tasks, physical fitness, and anthropometric assessments. Therefore, partial correlations were used to control for the confounding effects of age. After controlling for the officers' age, the overall OPAT time was significantly correlated with agility (r 0.57) and aerobic endurance (r-0.65). Furthermore, push-up, curl-up, body mass, waist circumference, and abdominal circumference were significantly correlated to individual OPAT tasks. In conclusion, exercise programs and fitness assessments should be used for campus LEOs that address a variety of physical fitness characteristics associated with occupational performance. In addition, exercise programs should focus on body composition management and fitness for older LEOs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2340-2350
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 4 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 National Strength and Conditioning Association.


  • conditioning
  • exercise
  • police
  • tactical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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