Should public safety officials be held to military fitness stand - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Should public safety officials be held to military fitness standards?

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One size doesn't fit all. That's why public safety officials shouldn't be subject to the same physical fitness standards. In a public hearing Thursday night, heads of each agency weighed in on Bill 365, what hopes to personalize physical fitness requirements for each agency to fit their respective missions.

No sugar coating here. What works for the U.S. Air Force isn't working for public safety officials here in Guam. Chief of Police JI Cruz has repeatedly reported his officers aren't passing the adopted physical fitness tests. He announced, "With the three diagnostic tests administered, our data showed just 30-percent of our full-time officers passed. The remaining 70-percent failed to meet the minimum requirements.

"These results prompted further examination of the AFI and the potential decertification of 70-80 percent of the sworn force and the resonating impact to the community."

What's the Air Force Standard? A timed 1.5-mile run, pushups, situps, and a measure of waist circumference. The Air Force, unlike Guam's officers, also has logistical support to get their personnel up to speed.

POST Commission's Dennis Santo Tomas and DepCor Director Tony Lamorena both rallied in support of Bill 365, which doesn't reduce standards, but personalizes it for each agency's respective mission. San to Tomas said, "The former commission members did not factor in the diversity and uniqueness of the different peace officer missions, and as our current post commission chair, GPD Police Chief JI Cruz, this was like trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole. And the one-size-fits-all rule simply does not work here."

Lamorena added, "What we've presented to you today is a standard that's specific to the needs of each public safety department. Fire has their version. We have ours. The police. Customs. And it's primarily geared towards our needs. When you have standards such as what was there with the Air Force standard - the Air Force, when they put that together, it was obviously geared towards their needs."

For GPD, their proposed tests are objective and non-discriminatory. They also simulate real-life scenarios including. "Foot pursuits involving short bursts of sprints, running up and down stairways, traversing over and under and over a variety of obstacles, pushing and pulling in a fight with a combative subject or in an act of rescue and even drawing one's firearm in defense of others are common occurrences for police officers," he said.

Chief Cruz added, "Our officers must be prepared to perform the fundamental physical functions of their duties at every stage of one's career regardless of age, gender, rank, duty assignment or seniority."

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