NYPD Lowers Fitness Standards To Recruit More Women

Decision comes as officers flee the force in record numbers

Police walk through Times Square in New York City (Getty Images)
March 16, 2023

The New York Police Department is lowering its recruitment standards to allow more women on the force, a decision that comes as the Defund the Police movement drives officers out of the ranks in record numbers.

The NYPD this month removed its 1.5-mile timed run requirement in the hopes of increasing its applicant pool after too many women failed the test. Mayor Eric Adams (D.) ultimately approved the decision, despite internal disagreement, the New York Post reported.

The decision to lower standards comes as the NYPD faces a significant reduction in its police force with 3,701 retiring or quitting in 2022, the most since 2002 after the September 11 terror attacks. Professor and former NYPD officer Eugene O’Donnell attributed the scarcity of qualified applicants to the Defund the Police movement.

"They’re the ones that did this, and they’re the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of a department where the utterly unfit are all that’s left in the pool," O’Donnell told the Post.

Adams resolved a dispute between NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell and training chief Juanita Holmes, who ultimately succeeded in changing the recruitment process. Now the sole physical evaluation is the Job Standard Test, a six-step course that must be completed in 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

"No cop on patrol runs a mile and a half," said Holmes. "No one’s chasing anyone a mile and a half. Not to mention every day in the gym you’re doing a mile and a half [as part of training]."

Professor and former NYPD officer Jillian Snider disagreed, saying that standards should be tailored to the job's responsibilities and not women’s abilities.

"You should have to have the same physical requirements because you're doing the same exact job," Snider said.

Though murders decreased 10 percent from 2021 to 2022, increases in other major crimes like robberies (26 percent), larceny (26 percent), and rape (8 percent) occurred in the same period.