Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Justice and Human Services

First Advisor

Marguerite Bryan

Second Advisor

Dana Mills

Third Advisor

Leslie E. Taylor

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the existing state of physical fitness maintenance policies among police departments in North Carolina, and how those policies impact reported injuries among police officers. The research identified a sample of police departments with and without mandated physical fitness maintenance policies (n = 145) for years 2013-2015 and through collaboration with the North Carolina League of Municipalities, determined the number officer injuries per department for comparison. This information also included the cause of injury, costs, lost work days and claims by male and female for comparison. A cross-sectional analysis and purposive sampling method were used to compare agencies who self-reported their level of physical fitness maintenance. Agencies were classified as mandated fitness standards, mandated wellness standards, and no standards. Police departments with mandatory physical fitness standards (FS) were found to have significantly lower medical costs (X² (1) = 126.4, p = .001, C = .541) and lost work days (X² (1) = 6.68, p = .009, C = .980) in several analysis when compared to agencies without FS and agencies with WS alone. Police departments with mixed standards (FS or WS or both) were compared to agencies without standards and no statistical significance was found. Future studies are recommended to increase the generalizability of the study and to determine causes of the increases in medical costs observed in agencies that mandate wellness standards.