(P10)| Volume 25, SUPPLEMENT 2, S3-S4, November 2022

Do police academy fitness scores correlate to final academic scores in cadets; a pilot study

      Introduction: To successfully complete academy training, law enforcement recruits must exhibit proficiency in both, levels of physical fitness and academic testing/cognitive abilities. Insight into the relationship between levels of physical fitness and academic testing could provide valuable information into the improvement of academy preparation and training. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between physical fitness tests and academic scores for cadets currently in academy.
      Methods: All cadets (N=15; 13 males, 2 females) volunteered to participate in this study as part of a cohort completing 16-weeks of academy testing and training. All subjects were deemed to be in good health and signed a voluntary consent for academy data to be released and analyzed. Cadets were then screened for five physical fitness components: vertical jump, 1-minute push-up test, 1-minute sit-up test, 300-m run, and 2.4-km run. For the entirety of the 16-week academy, physical training was completed daily in addition to academic lectures and tactical skills training. All practitioners followed the same exact protocols while testing for the five physical fitness components. A combination of academic and situational skill performance was assessed throughout the duration of the academy. Primary investigators were provided with participant academic data for analysis.
      Results: A Pearson correlation (SPSS ver. 26, New York, NY) revealed no statistical significance (p=0.52) existed between physical fitness testing components and academic scores. Of all the fitness components, the vertical jump had a weak to moderate negative relationship with academic scores (r = -.357). The results of this investigation indicate there is not a direct relationship between commonly performed physical fitness tests and academic scores during academy training.
      Discussion/Conclusion: All police academy classes are tested on physical fitness and academic proficiencies, including occupational skill work. Cadet physical fitness levels could indirectly affect academic and skill performance based on the cadet’s ability to recover from physical stressors. Past research indicates increased fatigue and stress from high-intensity activity potentially decreases an individuals’ cognitive abilities. Subsequently, increases in inflammation due to high physical stress may lead to a reduction in physical performance. While no statistically significant correlations were discovered in this study, previous observations suggest increases in perceptual motor skill learning have been shown to improve academic scores. By gathering insight into possible correlations between physical fitness components and academic scores, law enforcement agencies could reduce overall costs and improve upon current academy training procedures, thus improving cadet graduation rate.
      Impact/Application to the field:
      • While statistically significant relationships were not discovered, the data and information collected may be used to direct law enforcement academy personnel toward an emphasis on improving cadets’ physical and academic performance.
      • Improvements in the academy preparation of cadets could increase the current pool of active law enforcement officers, thus reducing stress and improving on positive outlook of veteran law enforcement officers.