DoJ sues Pennsylvania over trooper fitness tests

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2014

The tests “disproportionately screened out female applicants, resulting in a disparate impact against those applicants.” Officers who are highly fit have more options in a situation where force is required — subduing a suspect without resort to a gun, for example. Still, courts have often gone along with demands to weaken tests and standards. [DoJ press release] More: TV and Treadmills (FBI uses higher standards than the ones DoJ is suing over).

{ 5 comments }

1 DEM 07.30.14 at 10:23 am

And the meek shall inherit the Earth.

2 ras 07.30.14 at 11:59 am

Wouldn’t NFL training camp also “disproportionately screen out female applicants, resulting in a disparate impact against those applicants?”

3 DEM 07.30.14 at 3:09 pm

This gets curiouser and curiouser, as they say.

The DOJ press release to which Walter links says the DOJ is challenging the physical fitness tests, but does not describe them, or indicate just what the “disparate impact” really is.

So I read the complaint, which says that the state requires applicants to run 300 meters within an unspecified time limt, do an unstated number of pushups and situps, and run 1.5 miles, again in an unspecified time limit. Call me jaded, but I am guessing that there are different minimum requirements for me and women, and the minimums have been intentionally omitted from the complaint because they are embarassingly easy to satisfy. And in that regard, the complaint does say that about 98% of men and about 70% of women pass the physical fitness test. The CrossFit games, this ain’t.

So maybe, just maybe, these tests are keeping some small number of physically unfot women from a career that does, in fact, require some minimal level of physical fitness?

And think about the fact that the federal government is now imposing untold costs on a state, and seeking to second-guess its requirements for state officers, because 30% of women applicants can’t run 1.5 miles in time, or do some small number of pushups. 30%! What are we talking here, a few thousand unsuccessful applicants, at most? It’s as if no matter is small enough to earn the ire of the radicals in the DOJ. And let’s keep this in mind next time the DOJ complains that it is “underfunded” and can’t do its job without more money.

4 Parkhorse 07.30.14 at 6:51 pm

@DEM: The first Google result for “pennsylvania state trooper physical requirements” gave the answer requirements to graduate: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/psp/4451/hide_-_psp_cadet_selection_procedures/474394

Vertical Jump – 18 inches, 3 Attempts
1 RM Bench Press – 85% Body Weight
Illinois Agility Run – 19.5 Seconds, 2 Attempts
300-Meter Run – 65 Seconds
Push Ups – 30 Repetitions (no time limit)
1.5 Mile Run – 14 Minutes and 50 Seconds

5 gitarcarver 07.30.14 at 9:10 pm

At the bottom of the link Parkhorse graciously supplied is a pdf which explains the tests, and also shows that before graduation the trainee must increase their level of physical fitness.

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1378398/cadet_physical_readiness_testing

The DOJ complaint says the requirements have nothing to do with the ability of the applicant to do the job. The pdf says differently.

Oh the quandary of who knows jobs better – some lawyer at a desk at the DOJ? Or the people actually doing the job?

Also the physical standards show a commitment to wanting to be a LEO. In some ways when you look at the standards, anyone who could not do them just didn’t give a rat’s patootie to be prepared for a career. I think that too matters in qualifying or being considered for the training as the training – even just starting it – is costly and time consuming.

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