The Influence of Physical Fitness on Reasons for Academy Separation in Law Enforcement Recruits

This study analyzed the effects physical fitness may have on reasons for academy separation in law enforcement recruits. A retrospective analysis was conducted on 401 recruits; 330 recruits graduated (GRAD), and 71 recruits separated at various times during academy. Twenty-eight recruits separated for personal reasons (SEPPR); 18 due to physical training failures (i.e., poor fitness) or injury (SEPFI); and 25 due to academic or scenario failures (SEPAS). Fitness testing occurred prior to academy, and included: Push-ups and sit-ups in 60s; a 75-yard pursuit run (75PR); vertical jump; medicine ball throw; and multistage fitness test (MSFT). A one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc compared between-group fitness test performance. A multiple stepwise regression calculated whether recruit characteristics or fitness could predict separation. The GRAD group was younger than the SEPAS group (p < 0.01), faster in the 75PR than the SEPFI group (p = 0.02), and completed more MSFT shuttles than the SEPPR and SEPFI groups (p = 0.01). Age predicted GRAD and SEPAS group inclusion; MSFT predicted GRAD, SEPPR, and SEPFI group inclusion. Recruits who had superior high-intensity running capacity (75PR) and aerobic fitness (MSFT) should have a better chance of completing academy. However, this could be influenced by training practices adopted during academy.