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Should Police Entrance Physicals Be Gender Fair?

If men and women are competing for the same job should they take the same entrance physicals? What if the job requires that person to confront dangerous subjects? What if the job requires that person to protect the lives of citizens?

Should there be a less rigorous test for one subset of society? In an effort to maintain equality should the candidates be a 50-50 split no matter their physical or academic standards? Does accepting a candidate with less physical ability put the partner or others in danger?

According to the Department of Justice the city of Corpus Christi, Texas must offer lower physical readiness standards for women applicants. The physical test currently used by the City of Corpus Christi has four parts: push-ups, sit-ups, a 300-meter run and a 1.5-mile run. If an applicant fails any section they fail the whole test. From 2005 to 2009, approximately 19% of female applicants passed the physical test and 63% of male applicants passed it.

Listed below are the DOJ complaint and from the Corpus Christi website what the current physical standards.

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Corpus Christi, Texas, Police Department for Sex Discrimination

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, alleging that the city’s police department engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The lawsuit challenges the police department’s use of a physical ability test for the hiring of entry-level police officers.  According to the complaint, the physical test used by the city between 2005 and 2011 had the effect of excluding qualified women from consideration for hire as entry-level police officers and did not screen candidates for job-related skills.

From the Corpus Christi City website:

Physical fitness is having the physical readiness to perform the strenuous and critical physical tasks of the job. The physical fitness areas that have been determined to be the underlying factors for your capabilities to do the job consist of four (4) specific and different areas.

  1. Aerobic power or cardiovascular endurance. This is having an efficient heart and cardiovascular system so that you can perform physical tasks over a sustained period. It is an important area for performing job tasks such as making foot pursuits and long-term use of force situations.
  2. Anaerobic power. This is having the ability to make short intense bursts of effort. This is an important area for performing job tasks such as short sprint pursuit situations.
  3. Upper body muscular endurance. This is having the capability to make repeated muscular contractions with the upper body without getting fatigued. This is important for many use of force job tasks.
  4. Trunk or abdominal muscular endurance. This is having the capability to make repeated muscular contractions with the abdominal area without getting fatigued. Your abdomen is the fulcrum of your body and is important in many tasks involving lifting, pulling and dragging.

What place should affirmative action play in today’s society? In an effort to be fair to all should the standards be lower for some? Do you think these standards are too high? Which candidate would you want responding to a home invasion at your house?

What do you think?

 

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Comments (4)

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  1. Linda Lambert says:

    I think anyone who can actually perform the job should get it. Even in my job, it has requirements of how much you can lift. If you can’t lift that much, you don’t get hired. I feel sure the fire department needs to have stipulations similar to that. If the candidate can’t maintain the minimum standard, they should not be hired. I don’t care if they are women or men!

  2. Michael J. Fell says:

    The Rodney King beating, trail, judgement and the Los Angeles riots never would have happened had “gender fairness” not been the policy of the LAPD.

    • Teresa Wendt says:

      I had to go back and read up on the King beating. I did not remember any women were involved. Thanks for the info.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I think that this is not a good policy. If the women are held to a lower standard, they could be put into a dangerous position when they aren’t as prepared to fight.