The nature of a law enforcement officer’s job requires the officer to go from one physical extreme to another, from sedentary activity to sudden, strenuous exertion and exceptional physical performance. The combination of these two extremes in physical activity is responsible for a significant number of on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
In November of 1989, David L. Bever, PhD., a professor of health education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, developed the LawFit® Program for law enforcement personnel. This program was designed to increase the cardiorespiratory efficiency, muscular strength, muscular endurance, lean body mass, and flexibility of officers.
In 2002, personnel from participating departments began completing an initial battery of tests to measure their levels of fitness. These tests included:
- Maximum bench press
- 1 minute timed sit-up test
- Sit & reach flexibility test
- 1.5 mile run
- Body fat estimation
- Resting heart rate
- Blood pressure
Last year, the decision was made to permanently move the competition from George Mason University to Desoto County, Mississippi.
“The support we’ve gotten from the officials from Desoto County and Olive Branch has been remarkable,” Dr. Bever said. “Due to the importance of this competition and the local reception, we made the decision to come to Mississippi, permanently.”
The 11th annual competition runs June 14-16 and will be held on the campus of Olive Branch High School.
“We believe the physical fitness of our troopers is crucial in emergency situations and we put emphasis on staying in shape to handle the stress encountered in our jobs,” Mississippi Highway Patrol Director Colonel Donnell Berry said.
More than 90 competitors from 30 agencies have registered to compete this year, making this the largest event in its 11-year history.
“Our team has fared quite well in past competitions,” MHP Team Leader Lieutenant Thomas Tuggle said. “We consistently have placed very high and won the team competition five times since we entered the LawFit® Challenge 11 years ago.”