Wis. university PD wants to revise fitness test to recruit more women

By Suzie Ziegler

MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin police chief is on a mission to recruit more women by creating a more “functional” police fitness test, WMTV reported on Wednesday.  

Chief Kristen Roman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department says otherwise qualified female candidates fail the state-mandated fitness test 7.5 times more often than their male counterparts. That test consists of timed sit-ups, push-ups, a 1.5 mile run, a 300-meter sprint, a vertical jump and an agility run, according to the handbook

Now, Roman is working to create an annual department exam that includes more functional movements, like dragging a dummy and jumping over a 3-foot fence. 

“I think [the state test has] some limitations in terms of how accurately they reflect what the job entails for a police officer every day,” Roman said. 

Capt. Cherise Caradine says UWPD’s version is a better reflection of real police duties. 

“We were able to base that test off of things that we actually, functionally do while we’re working,” Caradine said. 

The UWPD’s sworn staff is 25% women, but Roman says that number is “not good enough.” 

“When we have to put our officers through these [new tests], we see that the outcomes are far more equitable, and it demonstrates that both men and women are equally able and capable of performing what’s truly physically required in this job,” she said. 

UWPD’s new fitness exam will not replace the state-mandated version, but the department hopes the DOJ will take notice and eventually revise its own standards, according to the report. 

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