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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
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The Back Story
The city of Vallejo is largest city in Solano County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The city has a population of approximately 120,000 residents.
The Vallejo Police Department has an authorized strength of 122 sworn officers and a professional staff of 50.
The Department is known for being a fast-paced and challenging place to work. Within this demanding environment, resources are often scarce; however, resourcefulness is plentiful.
The Department averages about 14 Worker’s Compensation Claims per year related to physical fitness areas such as: object lifting, carrying, jumping, pushing, pulling, reaching or twisting.
Addressing the Problem
In late 2014, The Police Department collaborated with the Fire Department to transform a closed fire station into a public safety training center. With the use of grant and one-time city funds, workout equipment was purchased and set-up. Additionally, a 16 week contract was signed with the Bio-Consultants firm.
Bio-Consultants is a team of physical therapists, strength & conditioning coaches, and statisticians focused on combining biometric data, principles of physical therapy, and sports performance to decrease the risk of musculoskeletal injuries and improve performance and function. The team works with public safety departments to improve employee mobility, stability and strength all while reducing the risk of injury.
Overview of Wellness Program
The program is completely voluntary and open to both sworn officers and professional staff of the Vallejo Police Department. A battery of fitness tests will be administered to participants by the Bio-Consultants team. After the test, the Bio-Consultants team will review the test scores to determine current fitness levels. The Bio-Consultants team will meet with each participant to discuss their test results and what their scores mean for the development of a personal exercise and wellness program.
Physical Fitness Policy
The Vallejo Police Department recognizes the importance of physical fitness to employee health. Law Enforcement work can be very physically and psychologically demanding. These challenges are better addressed when an employee participates in a regimen of personal fitness. If employees choose to participate, they must do so in a manner that is safe, constructive, and in accordance with rules and guidelines.
It is the policy of the Vallejo Police Department to promote physical fitness among its employees. Each potential participant must consult with their individual physician concerning their physical limitations, if any, and obtain their physician’s consent to participate in the physical fitness program.
In order to workout on-duty, employees must be scheduled for a minimum of an eight hour shift during each day of participation. The employee’s regularly scheduled and approved lunch period will be extended to 70 minutes, 40 minutes of which must be spent exercising. Police supervisors are expected to uphold the philosophy of the program by safely addressing the workload, and calls for service on their shifts, while scheduling their employees’ participation in this program. Of course, workout time is subject to workload demands and is not guaranteed.
The program is still in its infancy and measurable results are not yet statistically meaningful. However, about 50% of the Department participates in the program and enthusiasm remains high. As officers are required to work to an older age to achieve retirement benefits, this program should prove to be well worth the effort.
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