SERVICE, DEDICATION, INTEGRITY

SUQUAMISH POLICE DEPARTMENT
18490 Suquamish Way, Suite #105 / P.O. Box 1021 Suquamish WA 98392 OFFICE (360) 598-4334 Mike Lasnier, Chief of Police

LIMITED PRESS RELEASE
April 28, 2011

Dear Josh Farley, Thank you for your interest in the Suquamish Police Department, and specifically, our ongoing fitness program. This is a response to your inquiries. The Suquamish Police Department’s Policy on Physical Fitness for police officers was adopted by a resolution of the Suquamish Tribal Council in 2004. That policy pre-dates the current Police Chief. It states, in part; “Officers shall maintain a level of physical fitness which will allow them to perform their duties effectively”. Over the past 4 years, the department has slowly and methodically improved its fitness program and testing processes in order to implement the policy more effectively. You may ask: Why does the Suquamish Police Department need to have a fitness program? Answer: Because it’s the right thing to do for the following reasons: • Fitness Programs are proven to reduce absenteeism, injuries and disability payments, allow officers to recover from injuries faster, live longer, and have a longer “career life”. A physical fitness program with standards is not only a good idea, it is essential to achieve optimal service to the public. Since Law Enforcement agencies are managing and expending public funds, it is the duty of Law Enforcement managers to ensure that the public is getting the best return on their investment. In the current

financial environment, every dollar saved might affect the ability of a local government to maintain key services to their community. • Tribal Officers are not part of the State retirement system, and therefore are unlikely to retire at 53 years of age, as is allowed in the State System. For this reason it is critical that Tribal Police Officers train diligently to maintain fitness, as they will likely need to remain functional into their late 50’s and even 60’s. Officers in these age ranges who are not physically fit will be at higher risk for a line of duty death from Heart Attack. At the time of this release, more officers in the U.S. have died in 2011 from heart attacks than from non-gun Assaults, Pursuits, or being struck by cars. Why is the fitness program and test mandatory? Research into the topic has shown that voluntary programs for police have not had lasting success, even if they have financial incentives. (Ness and Light, 1992 and Collingwood, 1988a) The Suquamish Police Department actually had a financial merit increase incentive for officers who passed the fitness test in 2010. There is Federal case law on the books that states it is “Deliberate Indifference” for a police department to NOT effectively physically train its officers; Parker vs. District of Columbia. Here is a quote from that case: “Given Officer Hayes' physical condition, it is not hard to fathom that his most effective method for subduing the objects of his pursuits would be the use of a firearm as opposed to the application of physical force. Officer Hayes simply was not in adequate physical shape. This condition posed a foreseeable risk of harm to others. We are persuaded that a fair-minded jury could have concluded that Officer Hayes' conduct was the result of deliberate indifference on the part of the District with respect to the physical training of its police officers…” That case lead to a finding against the local government of nearly a half million dollars. Last Month nearly 30 Law Enforcement officers, supervisors and managers from our region attended training taught by a top expert in the field of Law Enforcement Risk Management and Liability, Gordon Graham. One of the most pressing flaws in Law

Enforcement management was identified as Police Departments failing to have physical testing for their incumbent officers after initially hiring them. The First Rule of Law Enforcement Risk Management is : “You must have a rising standard of quality over time, and it must be well beyond what is required by any minimum standard.” The Suquamish Police Department is constantly seeking ways to improve; this is just one of many areas where we are constantly raising our standards, and challenging ourselves to do better for the community we serve. • The State of Washington requires that every police officer or deputy applicant in the State pass a physical fitness test. It’s the same test we’re using. The argument for those tests is that Police training and police work can be physically demanding at times and therefore only applicants who meet the fitness standard are suited to perform the more difficult aspects of the training and job without undue risk of injury due to a lack of fitness. Those challenges don’t suddenly go away when an officer graduates from the police academy. Incumbent fitness training and testing are simply a logical continuation of what we already expect of our officers and applicants. Fitness programs for police allow officers to deal with emergency situations, deal with the stress of the job, and have better odds of controlling violent or resistive subjects without having to resort to higher levels of force. Fitness programs lead to officers being more self-confident, and less likely to over-react or under-react to a volatile situation. Research conducted by Law Enforcement experts including Bruce Siddle has shown that as the heart rate increases beyond a certain level, the ability to perceive what is going on around us, think clearly, and perform fine motor skills decreases. A fit officer starts with a lower resting heart rate, it takes far more effort and stress for the heart rate to rise to the “danger zone” where decision making is impaired, and as a result of being fit they recover back to a functional level much faster. A fit cop is a better cop, not just because they are fitter. They are better because they maintain the ability to perceive what is going on, make an appropriate decision, and carry out an action plan.

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Officers who appear fit are less likely to be challenged by violators, or have violators flee from them, or attack them. 100% of the officers of the Suquamish Police Department agreed that an ongoing fitness program was a good idea, and an important part of their success in their job. That was a vote taken at a department meeting in August, 2010.

What did the department do to ensure that the officers would be successful in remaining fit? • We used a slow, methodical approach, and introduced the updated program in stages, over several years. We started by paying the officers to work out, on-duty, for several years. 2007 & 2008, created a workout and training room, and authorized officers to work out one hour per shift while on duty. 2009, created a department goal approved by Tribal Council Liaisons and the Tribal Executive Office for each officer to be mandated to work out one hour per shift to maintain fitness. 2010, Implemented the goal to start fitness testing; also a department goal approved by Council Liaisons and the Tribal Executive Office. This testing was announced to the officers at a department meeting in November of 2009. The officers have 2 different workout rooms on the Tribal Government campus that are each equipped differently, and both free of charge 24 hours a day, so they don’t have to go anywhere to get a good workout. One room has traditional weight machines, treadmills, dumbells, and other machines, as well as kettlebells. The other is the Police training room which is set up for Defensive Tactics training and also has Kettlebells, Clubells, dumbells, pull up bars, striking bags and throwing dummies, TRX systems, Medicine Balls, Concept 2 Rowers, rings, parrellettes, wrestling mats, and a computer with a sound system so that officers who have to work out alone can follow along with a DVD or computer based exercise program.

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If an employee purchases a gym membership, the Tribe will reimburse them for a substantial percentage of the expense, as long as they actually use the facility regularly. The department has shower facilities and a locker room for officers to use, as well as an additional shower in the police training room. The department has purchased wrestling shoes and running/ workout shoes for any officer who has asked for them, to ensure success and prevent injuries. In May and June of 2010, the department hired trainers from the Poulsbo Athletic Club to conduct fitness assessments for all of our staff. These assessments included measurements, body composition, flexibility, cardiovascular assessments, and dietary information such as exactly how many calories they needed daily to maintain their current weight, and how many calories they’d need to reduce to lose weight. Each employee was given expert advice based on their outcome. The department has trained three employees as peer fitness coordinators and instructors, to assist officers in developing training programs. Those instructors have been certified in several different training systems. The officers had free access to daily classes taught by professional fitness instructors in the department training room. These classes included Kickboxing, Aerobics, Strength Training and TRX group classes. The department has encouraged officers to attend the wellness and weight loss classes put on by qualified nurses and nutritional experts employed by the Tribe over the past several years. The Tribe offers these classes to all employees, and they are held during work hours. All class material is also available to every employee online. Officers are given access to proven successful workout programs purchased by the department. They are also given access to programs and workouts specifically designed by State experts to help them prepare for the specific test the department is using.

The department brought in a running coach with nearly 20 years of successful experience in track and cross country, to conduct a running clinic here in our training room. The coach taught us various drills, analyzed and corrected each individuals running style, and made recommendations for each person for a running program and workouts.

Question: How was the fitness test chosen? • We selected the basic, entry level test requirement used by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission academy. The test is job related, and scientifically validated. It is predictive of a person’s ability to successfully engage in police training without undue risk of injury. This test is the standard used for hiring by nearly every Law Enforcement agency in the State of Washington. https://fortress.wa.gov/cjtc/www/images/docs/classes/blea/PAT_ Website_Info.pdf Here is some scientific research from “Police Chief” magazine and the International Association of Chiefs of Police that validates the same testing events we use and further establishes that they are an “industry standard” used by police agencies from across the nation: http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm? fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=251&issue_id=32004 This test isn’t designed for experienced, trained police officers. It’s designed to be taken by a civilian with no police training who would like to begin training to be a police officer. If they can’t pass the test then they would be at an unduly high risk of being hurt while engaged in police training. Since our officers are required to attend similar and more intensive police training and are also engaged in the full rigors of police work on the streets, then it follows that an officer who can’t pass this test is at unduly high risk for injury during training and while on the street. Its common sense; those that don’t move their bodies regularly, and are carrying lots of extra weight, are far more likely to be injured when they suddenly start to move in high stress situations.

All Officers were mandated to work out one hour per shift for 1.5 years before they were asked to take the test. It was reasonable to assume that anyone paid to work out an hour a workday for well over a year could certainly meet the minimum standards of a civilian applicant. The test is based on a job specific “single standard” so it does not discriminate based on age or gender. Everyone who is doing the job has to meet the same standard. The F.B.I. and approximately 50% of other police agencies across the nation use the same test events we are using; 1.5 mile run, 300 meter sprint, pushups and sit-ups. Those events are the common industry standard across the nation. The choice of what fitness test to use in the future was put to the officers themselves, in August of 2010. 13 of the 15 commissioned officers voted to keep the Washington State test we are using.

What happens if an officer fails the fitness test? The Tribe does not publicly discuss personnel issues. However, the Tribe has a positive discipline process in place for all employees. The Department Policy States “Any officer who fails to meet the minimum physical fitness standards required to perform his or her duties effectively shall have a reasonable time determined by the Chief of Police, not to exceed 6 months, to meet the standards”. In a hypothetical situation, first and foremost, the Tribe would give all employees a fair and reasonable opportunity to prepare for the test; in the current example, 1.5 years of paid, required, on-duty workout time in facilities provided by the employer, and with more support provided to employees than any police agency in Washington State. After 1.5 years to prepare, if an employee failed the first test, they would be placed on a corrective action plan and given a period of time to prepare for the next test. If they failed the test months later, they would be put on a probationary period, and given another time period of several months to prepare for the Third test. Only if an employee failed their third test in a row would the Tribe consider terminating

employment. By that point the officer would have been paid an hour a workday for over 2 years to prepare to meet the minimum standards. How tough is this test? The test has both minimum levels of performance, and a scoring system. The scoring system allows a person who has strengths in one area to use those strengths to make up for other areas where they might have weaknesses. However, each event does have a minimum level of performance; if you fall below that point on the individual event, then you will automatically fail that event. The 300 Meter Sprint is designed to test the anaerobic energy systems. The Pushup tests upper body strength, the situp tests core strength, and the 1.5 mile run tests aerobic fitness. The “Absolute Minimums” or “Automatic Fails” are: • • • • 300 Meter Run Push-Ups Sit-Ups 1.5 Mile Run 71 seconds 21 (no time limit) 30 (1 minute time limit) 14:31 minutes

If you can only do 20 pushups or less, you fail the test. If you can only do 29 sit-ups in a minute or less, you fail the test. If you run the 300m slower than 71 seconds, you fail. If you run the 1.5 mile slower than 14:31, you fail. The “absolute minimums” aren’t the “Passing” level of performance; they mark the edge of where an “automatic failure” is. The scoring system for the test is located on the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission website, which is linked above. It is not enough to do the absolute minimum in every area. There is a detailed Score sheet, and officers must attain an overall score of 160 to pass. If an officer is weak in one area, but strong in another, the strengths and weaknesses might cancel each other out, and still lead to a passing score. Again, thank you for your interest in our Department.

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