Health and Fitness Program for Law Enforcement Officers

223 FW 8
FWM Number
Amended Date(s)
1/29/2015, 7/7/2017
Originating Office
Division of Technical and Field Support

8.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides policy for establishing and maintaining the Health and Fitness Program for Law Enforcement Officers (HFP).

8.2 To whom does this chapter apply? This chapter applies to all Service law enforcement officers.

8.3 What is our policy on the HFP? We recognize employees as our most important asset and understand the importance of encouraging and assisting employees in attaining peak effectiveness in their jobs. We have established and will maintain a health and fitness program with mandatory participation by all law enforcement officers. 

8.4 What are the objectives of the HFP?

A. Develop and maintain optimal employee effectiveness and job performance through increased fitness and health.

B. Reduce lost work time from illness, disability, or job dissatisfaction.

C. Increase the ability to absorb emotional and physical stress, increase mental alertness, and reduce tension.

D. Promote morale and personal well-being by supporting the health and fitness of individuals.

E. Provide a workforce capable of responding to the rapidly changing, increasingly physical demands of law enforcement.

8.5 What are definitions for terms used in this chapter?

A. As defined in 446 DM 1.4E, a law enforcement officer is "a person who has entered the Federal service through established selection criteria, has received professional training according to published standards, and has been commissioned or sworn to perform law enforcement duties. Annual law enforcement in-service training to update their skills and knowledge is mandatory."

B. Fitness is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies.

8.6 What are our authorities for establishing the HFP?

A. 5 U.S.C. Chapter 7901, Health Services Program.

B. 446 DM 1-2.

8.7 Who is responsible for the HFP?

A. Regional Directors, Assistant Director for Law Enforcement, and Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System will ensure compliance with provisions of the HFP. 

B. The Assistant Director for Law Enforcement and Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System will approve and issue the Health and Fitness Program Handbook. In addition, each will appoint a National Health and Fitness Coordinator (HFC) who will:

(1) Implement the HFP and the national fitness standards including the approval of qualifications and protocols for the Regional Health and Fitness Coordinators.

(2) Provide general health and fitness information to the field in cooperation with the Regional HFC's.

(3) Coordinate HFP management activities with the Department of the Interior; Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); and various other agencies, committees, and organizations.

(4) Provide a clearinghouse on training techniques and information.

C. The Assistant Regional Directors for Law Enforcement and the Regional Chiefs, National Wildlife Refuge System will appoint a Regional Health and Fitness Coordinator who will:

(1) Analyze and determine health and fitness needs and disseminate health and fitness materials to participants. 

(2) Conduct annual health and fitness assessments for law enforcement officers in the Region. Regional HFC's will also conduct fitness assessments at times other than in-service training for officers whose assessment was previously deferred.

(3) Provide exercise and nutrition guidance for program participants including goal-setting, motivation, and fitness education material.

(4) Approve and maintain individual health and fitness plans, with concurrence from the officer's supervisor.

D. Where fitness equipment and facilities are located on Service property, station managers will ensure that adequate safety and emergency plans/procedures exist.

8.8 What are qualification standards for coordinators? 

A. National and Regional Health and Fitness Coordinators must be:

(1) Non-tobacco users.

(2) Active in all facets of the health and fitness program.

(3) Graduates of the FLETC Law Enforcement Fitness Coordinator Training Program.

B. National Health and Fitness Coordinators must have a working knowledge of health screening programs, monitoring, test administration, corrective actions, resources, advanced guidance, and safety.

C. Regional Health and Fitness Coordinators must have a working knowledge of health screening programs, monitoring, test administration, first aid, and safety. 

8.9 May I use official time to participate in health and fitness activities? We will provide 3 hours per week of official duty time for Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) Criminal Investigators and Conservation Law Enforcement Officers and 1 hour per official duty day for Federal Wildlife Officers (FWO) to help them meet mandatory physical training (conditioning) requirements and the annual fitness assessments of the HFP.

A. If you schedule fitness time during duty hours, you must schedule it in reasonable blocks of time whenever possible. A 1-hour block three times per week for an OLE employee or 1 hour daily for an FWO are examples. 

B. You may not perform exercise programs when your absence would interfere with the job performance of co-workers. 

C. You may not carry unused fitness time from one week to the next. 

8.10 What are the fitness requirements?

A. Applicants for law enforcement positions should be able to perform efficiently the rigorous duties required of a law enforcement position. Prior to appointment in a law enforcement position, applicants must pass the FLETC Physical Efficiency Battery.

B. National Wildlife Refuge System FWOs who are less than 40 years of age must have physical examinations every 2 years. FWOs 40 years of age and older must have annual examinations.

C. Employees with the Office of Law Enforcement must refer to guidance found in Chief’s Directive A13 for information on the frequency of physical examinations.

D. Law enforcement officers must participate in physical training (conditioning).

E. Law enforcement officers must participate in all HFP physical fitness goal assessments yearly unless medically waived. Coordinators will measure each activity objectively and conduct them according to HFP protocol. The physical fitness assessments consist of:

(1) For employees of the Office of Law Enforcement, 1.5-mile run or walk. For National Wildlife Refuge System FWOs, 1.5-mile run or3-mile walk (firefighters may substitute the pack test or field test).

(2) Pushups.

(3) Situps.

(4) Percent body fat composition.

8.11 How are physical fitness assessments conducted? Physical fitness assessments will be safe, accurate, and objective and the following conditions will apply.

A. Law enforcement officers must ensure that they have a physical examination and a doctor's approval before testing. We will defer testing if you obtain a medical waiver.

B. Individuals conducting the test must complete the Law Enforcement Fitness Training Program conducted at the FLETC.

C. The tester must be trained in CPR.

D. Women in the first two trimesters of a pregnancy may elect, but are not required, to test. We will not permit those in the third trimester to test.

8.12 Who maintains records? Each law enforcement officer will maintain a file containing a copy of their Individual Health and Fitness Plan (IHFP). If you use duty time for the HFP, you must maintain a record documenting the amount of time and dates.

8.13 Is fitness equipment available?

A. Depending on funding availability, duty location, numbers of employees, etc., managers may choose (but are not required) to equip/maintain fitness facilities. If demand and enthusiasm warrant, managers may purchase additional/advanced equipment. Managers should consider par courses (outdoor exercise circuits) or other cost-effective fitness options.

B. Managers may purchase fitness equipment up to the micro-purchase threshold with a Government purchase card. For equipment that costs more than the micro-purchase threshold, they must follow established Government purchasing protocol (see 301 FW 4). All equipment, donated and purchased, is the property of the U.S. Government.

C. Contact the U.S. Public Health Service and GSA for guidance on the development of fitness facilities in a Government-owned or leased building. 

8.14 Can I obtain a membership in a health club? We encourage law enforcement officers to use exercise facilities to fulfill their requirement to participate in a physical conditioning program.

A. Standards for selection of a fitness center:

(1) The fitness center must have equipment necessary to complete cardiovascular and strengthening exercise. 

(2) The center must not restrict membership and access to facilities based on sex, race, national origin, color, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

(3) The facilities should be conveniently located to the officer's duty station or residence.

B. We will reimburse law enforcement officers for a portion of their health club membership fees. At the end of the calendar year, we will reimburse 50 percent of the employee's health club membership fees, up to $275 per year. We will reimburse membership fees only; initiation fees or incidental expenses are not reimbursable. 

8.15 How do I apply for reimbursement of membership fees? To obtain reimbursement for the previous year's membership fees, you must provide the following documents to your supervisor between January 1 and January 31:

A. Completed Form 3-2178c (Fitness Membership Fee Reimbursement for Law Enforcement Officers Application Form).

B. Completed Form 3-2178a (Report of Taxable Fringe Benefit (Fitness Center Reimbursement Fees)).

C. Your paid invoice(s) or other proof of payment (such as bank statement for centers that require automatic withdrawal) for individual membership fees for the entire calendar year.

D. Completed Form 3-2178b (Fitness Membership Fee Reimbursement Program Self-Certification of Usage).

8.16 What will my supervisor do with these documents? Your supervisor will maintain the original proof of payment and a copy of all forms in their files. Your supervisor must forward the original Form 3-2178a and a copy of the invoice to the National Business Center. 

8.17 What if I am injured while participating in the HFP? Injuries and occupational diseases arising from participation in your health and fitness program are compensable under the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Coverage includes duty-time activities and those that take place off duty, off premises. The primary requisite for this coverage is that the officer's field supervisor and the Regional HFC must pre-approve the activity on the employee's IHFP. Report injuries or occupational disease arising from participation in the program in the same manner as other on-the-job injuries. 

8.18 Are there incentives to do well in the HFP?

A. We may recognize accomplishments in fitness maintenance, particularly by those who change their lifestyles to achieve improved health and fitness performance. Managers and supervisors may provide time and financial or logistical assistance in support of health and fitness-related activities, competitions, etc. 

B. Wellness Assessment Incentive Award. To monitor improvement, we will conduct wellness assessments yearly, usually at regional or national in-service training sessions. A program year is from one required fitness/wellness assessment to the next. To be eligible for an award, you must meet five of the following seven wellness criteria: 

(1) Sick Leave. No more than 5 days of sick leave (for officer's illness) per program year. 

(2) Cholesterol Score. Under 200 mg/dl, or reduce score by 10 percent from the original score, or have a TC/HDL ratio of 3.6 or less.

(3) Percent Body Fat. In recommended range for age/sex, or reduce by 3 percent from previous program year. 

(4) Participation in a regular conditioning program on a regular basis. We provide 3 hours per workweek (40 hours).

(5) Blood Pressure. Reading should show a systolic at or below 140 mm Hg and diastolic at or below 90mm Hg.

(6) Achieve a total fitness assessment score of 12 or less. Calculate total fitness assessment score by adding each assessment level from the four fitness assessment categories.

(7) Tobacco Free. No tobacco use during the last 4 months of the program year.

8.19 What is the Health and Fitness Program Handbook? The Handbook is a supplement to this chapter and further defines the Health and Fitness Program, its components and requirements. You can obtain a copy from your Regional Health and Fitness Coordinator.

Amended by Decision Memorandum, “Approval of Revisions to ~350 Directives to Remove Gender-Specific Pronouns,” 6/22/2022