Ontario Police College no longer testing new recruits in physical fitness: memo
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 5:00PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 18, 2018 8:41PM EDT
The Ontario Police College is scrapping their physical fitness testing for new recruits, according to a memo obtained by CTV News Toronto.
The Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police (PREP) test consists of an interval training course that assesses a recruit’s overall fitness level, strength and endurance.
According to the memo, PREP testing will “no longer be a component of the Basic Constable Training Program.” Instead, new recruits will take part in a foot-chase course, which the college says is “reflective of their day-to-day duties” as a police officer.
The foot-chase course will not be graded at the college and a successful completion of the course will not be required in order to graduate, the memo said.
A police fitness test known as the “PIN test” has also been scrapped.
The change doesn’t just apply to new recruits. The college says any “previous intakes” who successfully completed all aspects of the program, other than the physical fitness test, will also receive their basic training certificates.
The Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services called the physical testing a duplicated service performed by both the college and local police services.
“Individual police services are responsible for ensuring that their recruits are physically able to perform the duties of the position,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement.
Steve Ryan, a crime specialist with CP24 and a former Toronto police homicide detective, called the program change “alarming.”
“You want your officers coming out of the Ontario Police College to be fit,” he said. “When you have officers that are going to confront suspects, you have to be stronger than them. You have to be more fit than them.”
Ryan also suggested that the reason why the Ontario Police College may have removed the fitness testing from their curriculum is that officers weren’t passing the assessment.
The president of the Toronto Police Association is not concerned about the change. Mike McCormack told CTV News Toronto that removing the physical fitness test will help streamline the hiring process and result in more officers on the street.
“We are advocating that the standard doesn’t change. It’s just the ability for us to test and get more people through that pool,” Mike McCormack said. “We anticipate about 300 officers by the end of this year and we need to get the applicants now. We need to get our people through the college.”
The memo was sent to all training bureaus, the Ontario Municipal and First National Police Services, and the Ontario Provincial Police on Aug. 21 by Paul Hebert, acting director of the Ontario Police College’s Public Safety Training Division.
The training program changes came into effect as of Sept. 5, 2018.
-With files from CTV News Toronto's Tracy Tong