The NYPD has decided to lower its fitness test requirements to get more police officers on the streets amid a record-breaking wave of retirements.
By making the fitness test easier, the department hopes to increase the number of recruits that can enter its Police Academy.
According to recruiting videos posted online, a 6-foot wall used in the “Barrier Surmount” test — one of the six tasks in the department’s Job Standard Test — was replaced with a chain-link fence that is easier to climb, and the time limit to complete the entire test was extended from 3:28 to 4:28.
Aspiring recruits must first pass the Job Standard Test before moving on to their six-month Academy training in Flushing, Queens.
“It’s really not that hard. If you can’t pass the basic requirements for being a police officer, you shouldn’t be one,” a veteran cop said of the test, per the New York Post.
Another change made by the NYPD was removing the Academy training rule that required recruits to run 1.5 miles in 14:21 or less to graduate.
Lowering fitness test standards appears to be a response to the thinning ranks in the department after more than 2,100 officers retired or quit this year.
The number exceeded that of 2020, when 1,535 cops retired during the beginning of the pandemic.
“So many people are retiring in droves and they have to fill these positions,” one source said.
According to the New York Post, many of the officers decided to retire because of the soft judicial system and the recent bail reforms, which have been contributing to the rise in crime in the city.
The most recent graduating academy class consisted of just 561 recruits, which fell short of the NYPD’s initial recruiting target of 1,009 recruits.
The state of New York approved the changes to the fitness test.
“Our physical fitness requirements in the Police Academy have been reviewed and approved by [the] New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service and the NYPD will continue to abide by any guidelines issued by the state,” an NYPD spokesperson said in a statement.