The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s (OSHP) Health and Physical Fitness Program (HPFP) is a uniquely comprehensive program consisting of medical evaluations, clinical fitness appraisals, fitness standards, multiple incentives, and a progressive discipline process. To OSHP’s knowledge, there is no other program like it for law enforcement in the United States. The program’s benefits—the health and wellness of OHSP’s officers, the increased operational output for providing high-quality public safety services, and the quality of life for officers upon retirement—make it a model for other agencies seeking similar improvements.
The public policy benefits of a healthy, fit, and capable workforce are obvious. The long-term budget impacts are equally positive. Those in elected and appointed public safety leadership positions and those they serve will benefit from leading change in workforce fitness and health.
The HPFP’s main purpose is to increase officer safety. It is imperative to the safety of the officers that they are physically prepared to handle the demands and responsibilities of a law enforcement job, particularly in today’s challenging environment. Being physically unprepared could result in serious injury to or even the death of an officer, his or her fellow officers, or the members of the public they are sworn to serve and protect.