Nobody knows your agency like you do which may explain some of the difficulty or resistance you've encountered in trying to move the program or elements of the program forward. Our experience, over 70 person years in the field, has well prepared us to assist you as you venture forward. Some of the ways FitForce may be of assistance are listed below.
It can seem like a long tunnel at first.
When beginning or advancing a physical readiness we recommend an evolutionary approach to implementation. This phase-in period may last 1-3 years or more. During this period, we recommend the agency consider:
- A review of the annual performance evaluation process
- An analysis of existing job descriptions, requirements, policies and procedures
- A legal review of existing or planned policies
All of which should answer "Who will be affected, how, and when."
From the Field
Upon the completion of validation study for the DOE/NNSA/Office of Secure Transportation, the agency retained FitForce to assist in a complete review of their policies around physical readiness. Prior to the study, OST already had one of the most comprehensive programs we’ve come across in public safety. However, by allowing us to work with the very excellent human resources and training divisions within the agency, we collectively were able to move OST forward in their efforts to ensure their agents are physically ready to meet the challenges of their mission. The end result is very tight set of policies and procedures.
Program Review and Design
Many agencies choose to fly by the seat of our pants or allow precedence or complacency to dictate the content and direction of our program. This can result in a health and fitness program becoming a black hole that resources get funneled into with little apparent benefit. Instead, we would suggest drawing from a best practice in the private sector which projects a return of $3.14 for every dollar invested in an employee focused, health and fitness program. This return on investment (ROI) is an important metric which can justify and even underwrite a program eventually. First, it will be necessary to know where and why money is being spent. Some of the areas to consider for review are:
- disability costs
- health care costs
- health statistics, e.g. blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- fitness levels of incumbents
- perceived needs of the workforce
- per employee rate of investment in managing health-related costs
Whether we assist you or not, a program review should be a regularly scheduled department or agency event with the results made available to the interested parties, including those paying for the program! Demonstrating the need for a program and or standards is therefore an essential first step. Identifying resources to address those needs is the necessary follow-on response.
Over the years, we have made a number of presentations to various bodies: executive boards, command and administrative staff, as well as rank and file personnel on program design. The value of an outside group such as FitForce at this juncture stems from our understanding of the issues, insight into what is happening around the country in public safety physical readiness, and the objectivity we bring as a third party. We’ve outlined what a public safety physical readiness program may look like for you as well.
Curriculum Review and Development
Recruit academy content should be linked to both short and long term learning objectives. For instance, the primary function of physical training in a recruit training environment is to ensure safety and performance while acquiring the skills and abilities to do the job. Does your curriculum (and practice) reflect that objective? A unique opportunity exists in the recruit environment to instill a sense of control and direction over career- and life-long health and fitness that is frequently squandered. Instead, we allow some of the worst elements of the public safety lifestyle to indoctrinate the recruits into their chosen profession.
Incumbent training is arguably the most important, and most overlooked, piece of the training agenda. In-service, roll call, specialized, and inter/intranet options have all been used to great advantage in many agencies.