Time Spent Working in Custody Influences Work Sample Test Battery Performance of Deputy Sheriffs Compared to Recruits

This study determined the influence of years spent working in custody on fitness measured by a state-specific testing battery (Work Sample Test Battery; WSTB) in deputy sheriffs. Retrospective analysis was conducted on one patrol school class (51 males, 13 females) divided into three groups depending on time spent working in custody: DS24 (<24 months; n = 20); DS2547 (25–47 months; n = 23); and DS48+ (≥48 months; n = 21). These groups were compared to a recruit class (REC; 219 males, 34 females) in the WSTB, which comprised five tasks completed for time: 99-yard (90.53-m) obstacle course (99OC); 165-pound (75-kg) dummy drag; six-foot (1.83-m) chain link fence (CLF) and solid wall (SW) climb; and 500-yard (457.2-m) run (500R). A univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) (controlling for sex and age) with Bonferroni post hoc determined significant between-group differences. DS48+ were slower in the 99OC compared to the REC (p = 0.007) and performed the CLF and SW slower than all groups (p ≤ 0.012). DS24, DS2547, and DS48+ were all slower than REC in the 500R (p ≤ 0.002). Physical training should be implemented to maintain fitness and job-specific task performance in deputy sheriffs working custody, especially considering the sedentary nature of this work.