Don't dumb down state police fitness test

Posted: August 14, 2014

DO YOU think that running 300 meters in 77 seconds, doing 13 push-ups (un-timed), performing a 14-inch vertical jump and running 1.5 miles in 17 minutes and 48 seconds is a Herculean feat and too high a standard for a Pennsylvania State Police officer?

Well, apparently, the U.S. Justice Department thinks that standard is unreasonable for women, and filed a lawsuit two weeks ago against the Pennsylvania State Police, declaring that the physical-fitness test discriminates against them.

This stunning suit is a real head-scratcher. If you ask me, the current standard is pitifully low and the standards should be higher, much higher. Hell, I'm 51 years old and on a bad day I can crank out 30 good push-ups, dips and a few pull-ups, and I can practically walk 1.5 miles in 17:48.

Why, for goodness sake, are we asking so little in general and particularly less for women for one of the most physically and mentally demanding of jobs?

According to the lawsuit, 94 percent of men passed the test in 2003, and about 71 percent of women passed.

OK, so does that by definition mean that the test is biased, or are more of the female recruits just not physically up to par?

It is more likely the latter, and this disparity should therefore come as no surprise.

While on the surface this lawsuit may have good intentions (to level the playing field and increase the hiring of female troopers), is this the best we can do?

I think not. And the dumbing down of the requirements does us all a disservice.

The inconvenient truth is, political correctness again appears to be blinding us from plain old common sense. The current Pennsylvania State Police examination is not unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

Undoubtedly, with the proper preparation there are plenty of young women in Pennsylvania physically and mentally strong enough to make the state trooper final cut. Let's not insult them, nor current troopers, by lowering the bar.

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