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An analysis of cultural artifacts in a municipal police department and their impact on the success of physical fitness policy implementation.

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Physical fitness is an essential component in municipal police work. During the selection process, applicants must demonstrate their ability to perform the physical demands of the job. However, after a candidate passes this initial fitness screening, most Illinois departments do not require additional fitness assessments unless the officer is selected for specialty assignm Physical fitness is an essential component in municipal police work. During the selection process, applicants must demonstrate their ability to perform the physical demands of the job. However, after a candidate passes this initial fitness screening, most Illinois departments do not require additional fitness assessments unless the officer is selected for specialty assignments. In 2008, this became an issue in the Chicago Police Department when the new police superintendent began exploring the idea of mandating fitness tests during an officer's career.;This dissertation hypothesizes that a link exists between a police department's culture and the potential success of fitness policy implementation. The researcher chose to approach this project as a case study of a suburban Chicago police department. Because the police profession is extremely insular, a level of trust could be achieved by focusing on a single department.;A comprehensive survey, developed to assign standardized responses, asked officers to communicate their strength of agreement or disagreement on a variety of issues. The survey was divided into six sections that addressed demographics, personal physical fitness, department policing philosophy, department physical fitness policy philosophy, and department culture. After subtracting vacancies, military leave, and absences, 72 surveys were collected, giving a nearly 73% response rate.;Rather than evaluating each survey on its own, the responses were put into a format that allowed the information to be studied as a complete data set. Reduction methodology was used to manipulate the data and create manageable groups. Data reduction revealed components that formed the independent variables of this study's Character Model, which represents the police officers' personal beliefs and norms, and Command Model, which represents management philosophy and formal organizational operations. Using regression analysis for theoretical and non-theoretical models, the researcher assessed the effects of each independent variable on the dependent variables and its components to determine the best explanation for predicting policy success. Although none of the theory-based hypotheses were accepted and statistical analysis concluded that police department culture has no bearing on the potential success of fitness policy implementation, every effort was made to find a predictive relationship from the survey data. In the end, a total of five different analyses performed with the officers' current fitness lifestyle and family status were found to be the most significant predictors.


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Physical fitness is an essential component in municipal police work. During the selection process, applicants must demonstrate their ability to perform the physical demands of the job. However, after a candidate passes this initial fitness screening, most Illinois departments do not require additional fitness assessments unless the officer is selected for specialty assignm Physical fitness is an essential component in municipal police work. During the selection process, applicants must demonstrate their ability to perform the physical demands of the job. However, after a candidate passes this initial fitness screening, most Illinois departments do not require additional fitness assessments unless the officer is selected for specialty assignments. In 2008, this became an issue in the Chicago Police Department when the new police superintendent began exploring the idea of mandating fitness tests during an officer's career.;This dissertation hypothesizes that a link exists between a police department's culture and the potential success of fitness policy implementation. The researcher chose to approach this project as a case study of a suburban Chicago police department. Because the police profession is extremely insular, a level of trust could be achieved by focusing on a single department.;A comprehensive survey, developed to assign standardized responses, asked officers to communicate their strength of agreement or disagreement on a variety of issues. The survey was divided into six sections that addressed demographics, personal physical fitness, department policing philosophy, department physical fitness policy philosophy, and department culture. After subtracting vacancies, military leave, and absences, 72 surveys were collected, giving a nearly 73% response rate.;Rather than evaluating each survey on its own, the responses were put into a format that allowed the information to be studied as a complete data set. Reduction methodology was used to manipulate the data and create manageable groups. Data reduction revealed components that formed the independent variables of this study's Character Model, which represents the police officers' personal beliefs and norms, and Command Model, which represents management philosophy and formal organizational operations. Using regression analysis for theoretical and non-theoretical models, the researcher assessed the effects of each independent variable on the dependent variables and its components to determine the best explanation for predicting policy success. Although none of the theory-based hypotheses were accepted and statistical analysis concluded that police department culture has no bearing on the potential success of fitness policy implementation, every effort was made to find a predictive relationship from the survey data. In the end, a total of five different analyses performed with the officers' current fitness lifestyle and family status were found to be the most significant predictors.

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