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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 23, 2023 09:47 AM
From: Representative Dan K. Williams
To: All House members
Subject: Lowering Fitness Standards for Police Officers
Police departments across the country are struggling to find new recruits amidst waves of retirements and resignations, the COVID-19 pandemic, and several other social, political, and economic forces. A 2021 national survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum showed a 45% increase in retirements and an 18% increase in resignations over the previous year. Additionally, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, we have around 1,300 open positions across the state.
To address these historic shortages, I will be introducing legislation to lower the fitness requirements for prospective police officers. Currently, police academy applicants are required to score no lower than the 30th percentile in evaluations that include long- and short-distance runs, bench presses, and sit-ups. My legislation will reduce these requirements so that an applicant only has to score in at least the 15th percentile for these evaluations. Applicants would still be required to score no lower than the 30th percentile in order to be employed as a police officer.
The unprecedented vacancies that Pennsylvania is currently experiencing place a greater burden on our remaining officers with heavier caseloads, burnout, and increased stress. This makes it harder to find justice for victims, keep our residents safe, and build bonds between officers and the communities they serve.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital piece of legislation to ensure that police departments across Pennsylvania can hire the officers needed to protect and serve our friends, families, and neighbors.

Introduced as HB863