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Huntsville police officers have new financial incentive to stay in shape

If officers pass a fitness test twice a year they will get a 2.5% bonus.

Posted: Aug 9, 2019 11:02 PM
Updated: Aug 10, 2019 9:13 AM

The Huntsville Police Department anticipates half of its officers will try and take advantage of a brand new fitness incentive passed by the Huntsville City Council Thursday night. It requires officers to take a physical test to see if they're in shape. If they pass, they get a 2.5% bonus.

Huntsville police requires their officers to take a fitness test every other year to be on the street, but that test doesn't include things like push-ups. This new test does. Here are the requirements:

-22 push-ups in 1 minute.

-25 sit-ups in 1 minute.

In 90 seconds they have to:

-Push a car 15 feet.

-Sprint 50 yards before scaling a 6 ft. fence.

-Sprint another 50 yards befor climbing through a window.

-Cross a balance beam.

-Drag 165 pounds 15 ft.

After that they have to run 1.5 miles in less than 15:28.

Joe Deboer is a training adviser for the department. He told WAAY 31 passing this test is required by the state to become an officer. It's harder than the test officers take every other year, "it's more difficult in a sense that you have to be more well rounded," said Deboer.

For officers on the street, "it should be something that is attainable at any point in time," said Deboer.

The department told WAAY 31 they only anticipate 50% of 419 officers trying to get the bonus, because some are not on the street, "they're in different administrative positions that may not necessarily need to do some of the things that some of the younger guys do out in the field," said Lt. Michael Johnson.

Right now, the city doesn't know exactly how much the bonus will cost taxpayers, because no officers have even taken the test. They do have money in the budget for it. The department said it could balance out with lower health care costs for the city in the long run, "if you stay physically fit your entire career it is proven statistically that you will have a healthier life," said Lt. Johnson.

Deboer told WAAY 31 having this incentive will mean officers will be able to protect and serve Huntsville better, "if our officers are physically prepared it one hundred percent correlates to mental clarity and being able to perform mentally," said Deboer.

To get and keep the bonus, officers have to pass the test twice a year. If they fail at any point they lose their bonus.
The first opportunity for them to get the bonus will be in the spring of 2020.

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