Measurement of Functional Capacity Requirements of Police Officers to Aid in Development of an Occupation-Specific Cardiac Rehabilitation Training Program.

Measurement of Functional Capacity Requirements of Police Officers to Aid in Development of an Occupation-Specific Cardiac Rehabilitation Training Program.

Police work involves exposure to a broad range of emotionally harrowing incidents and is often cited as one of the most stressful occupations (1). Traumatic events such as shootings, severe motor vehicle accidents, and incidents involving the death of a child are all ranked as extremely stressful by law enforcement personnel (2-4). Given the overwhelming stress of events like these, coupled with the continual threat of physical danger, it is not surprising that police work has been linked to high rates of cardiovascular disease. In a report covering data from 1990 to 2000, heart attacks accounted for 22% of deaths among on-duty police officers and detectives (5). A previous study of Dallas-area police officers found that middle-aged officers had below-average fitness levels compared with the average sedentary population of similar age and were at higher risk of coronary heart disease than their sedentary counterparts (6). Most of the time, police work is not physically demanding; however, physical tasks are invariably part of the job (7). Endurance and strength are needed for tasks such as chasing suspects on foot, climbing over fences, jumping across ditches or creek beds, and wrestling with individuals who resist being subdued (6, 7). Being in better-than-average physical condition is vital because police officers must often deal with perpetrators who are young and fit (6).

Measurement of Functional Capacity Requirements of Police Officers to Aid in Development of an Occupation-Specific Cardiac Rehabilitation Training Program.

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