A lawsuit currently headed to federal court claims physical fitness tests issued by police departments are discriminatory towards women.
The incident began when 12 female officers, all over the age of 40, failed to meet the Colorado Springs Police Department’s physical requirements, which include performing 52 push-ups and 45 sit-ups in four minutes time and two running exams.
Responding to the ongoing lawsuit, the department announced this week that officers would be exempt from such tests for the remainder of the year at minimum.
Although initially being placed on desk duty for their failure, all female officers were ordered back on patrol after initiation of the lawsuit.
“We’ll suspend tests and hopefully in 2016 we’ll get this in front of a federal court and we’ll make a decision,” Police Chief Pete Carey told CBS 4.
Despite claims from the female officers, Carey asserted that applying the same physical standards to all police regardless of gender was the most fair thing the department could do.
“I very firmly stand behind physical fitness tests for our officers,” the chief said. “I think what I’m asking them to do is fair and my hope is a federal judge also agrees with this.”
As noted in a statement to the press, Carey also said the department went above and beyond to bring all officers up to standard.
“To ensure officer success, CSPD called upon many resources in our community, including local healthcare and sports facilities, to provide personal training sessions and design exercise plans,” Carey wrote.
The department also stated that the lawsuit would likely take a year to reach a conclusion.
The incident is similar to a growing number of cases in which females in physically-strenuous jobs demand both special treatment and to be treated equal to their male counterparts at the same time.
Earlier this year, a 33-year-old female in New York was allowed to graduate from a firefighting academy despite failing the physical fitness portion of her training.
“We’re being asked to go into a fire with someone who isn’t 100 percent qualified,” an unnamed firefighter said in response. “Our job is a team effort. If there’s a weak link in the chain, either civilians or our members can die.”
On the contrary, four females in 2013 proved they were beyond capable after becoming the first women in history to complete the Marine Corps 59-day infantry evaluation course. Two females in August also became the first ever to complete the Army’s elite Ranger school.
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