I was training chief for NYPD — we all lose if cop standards are lowered
Wilbur Chapman had a storied, 35-year career with the NYPD, serving as chief of patrol and later deputy commissioner of training. It was in that last job that he realized the importance of the physical fitness tests new recruits must pass. Now current training chief Juanita Holmes is scrapping one of the requirements: a 1.5-mile run that prospective officers must complete in less than 14 minutes and 21 seconds, a move NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell opposed. Chapman tells The Post why that’s a mistake:
The NYPD’s challenge is to provide public safety to a complex and fragmented city. To accomplish that mission, operational efficiency is imperative.
The police academy’s training is the most comprehensive in the state. It transforms novice recruits into protectors of the city.
It’s an honor and a privilege – not a civil right. The training is strenuous and requires complete dedication.
The people of the City of New York deserve nothing less than the best the department has to offer.
Part of that training is physical fitness. NYPD Police Academy graduates should be in the best physical shape of their lives and be able to handle a variety of assignments.
Eliminating the qualifying run from the academy’s curriculum, however well-intentioned, is wrong and dangerous to both the public and police officers.
Officers who are not in good physical shape are more likely to get hurt and fail to protect the public, use an excessive number of sick days and have to retire early due to the physical demands of police work.
Police Commissioner Sewell is absolutely right in her position that she does not compromise. You don’t get diversity with lower standards, you get individuals who can be a liability.
Recruits at the Academy were traditionally offered tutoring if they fell behind academically or at the Physical Training School.
Those who did not qualify even with the additional specific funds will not be allowed to graduate.
Past recruitment campaigns have shown that diversity can be achieved by raising standards rather than compromising them.
The NYPD, as well as other departments, need to better identify qualified applicants and ensure they go through the process while maintaining the highest standards.
The idea that relaxing standards will allow more women into the department is a deeply problematic theory.
Women have come a long way since the days of the separate police women’s bureau in the 1960s and we certainly don’t want to return to that practice.
But this is not the way to improve diversity.
Not everyone is cut out to be a member of the NYPD. If you want it and study hard and train properly, you will join the best law enforcement agency in the country.
The tradition of the department and the people of the city deserve nothing less than New York’s Finest.