YOUNGSTOWN - The police department wants its officers to get physical, but in a good way.
The department is mulling over a voluntary physical fitness program as a way to keep officers fit and to also possibly see a reduction in their insurance rates.
Staff Inspector Lt. Brian Butler said the program would be voluntary. The administration of Chief Rod Foley is in negotiations with representatives of the department's unions to work out the details of implementing the program.
Officers would be given compensation time as an incentive to participate if they hit certain fitness benchmarks and would also get a decoration they can wear on their uniform, Butler said.
Butler said Austintown and Liberty have similar programs either up and running or ready to go. He said the department may also be able to save on insurance rates by having their officers in better shape, but he said the goal is to keep officers in shape or get them fit.
''This is truly to promote health,'' Butler said.
Physical fitness plan
Officers who meet benchmarks would receive a ribbon for their uniform and compensatory time
Austintown police have run a similar program for 10 years
Liberty police hope to implement their own program by the beginning of 2013
There are no minimum fitness standards for officers, Butler said. He said the only physical fitness test they must take is when they take their entry-level police examination.
Austintown Police Capt. Bryan Kloss said his department's program has been in place for 10 years and gives two annual fitness tests, in the spring and summer. That program is also voluntary.
Officers have six events they compete in - bench press, a 300-meter run, one minute of sit-ups, a vertical jump, push-ups and a half-mile run.
Officers who exceed standards in each event are awarded compensation time, and they can take the test both times during the year but their comp time is capped at 24 hours no matter how high over the standard they perform, Kloss said.
He said the events are keyed toward duties they may have to perform while on the road.
''There's a benefit to staying fit and achieving their goals,'' Kloss said.
In Liberty, Chief Richard Tisone said he hopes to have his program up and running by the beginning of 2013. He said he and his staff are still trying to come up with what events should be held, along with input from the officers.
Liberty's program will also be voluntary, Tisone said.
Tisone said peak performers will also be awarded comp time as well as a decoration for their uniform. He did say, however, that his program will consist of six events officers must master.
The department also has a workout facility at the station that Tisone said the officers can use.