Easier fitness tests for recruits is no way to prop up the NYPD

NYPD officers will always be the best in New York – they just might not be the fittest anytime soon.

Desperate to fill positions amid a wave of police officers quitting or retiring, the NYPD has eased fitness standards for recruits. A solid 6-foot wall has been replaced with an easier-to-climb chain-link fence, nearly a full minute has been added to the fitness exam time limit, and the department may do away with a rule requiring candidates to run 2.5 miles in 14:21 minutes.

The result is easy to predict: police officers less able to stand up to thieves and thugs. More bad guys getting away. And, of course, more crime.

True, this year alone more than 2,100 police officers resigned or retired; 523 in June alone. And with crime already on the rise, the city needs its own police officers.

However, lowering the bar is not the way to attract more candidates and strengthen the ranking. Indeed, many of the departing officers have expressed frustration with the city’s rickety justice system, its intransigent prosecutors and judges, and the state’s disastrous bail reform laws. Making the fitness test easier won’t solve it.

On the other hand, addressing their concerns—letting them do their jobs and allowing them to be effective—will. It will also help curb crime.

New York needs to take the handcuffs off the police, assure them that they will not be personally sued for doing what they are expected to do, make sure that the criminals they arrest stay behind bars and are not released hours later. Pols could also help by confronting the anti-Pandyan moat that is running rampant in the city instead of kicking it out.

Being a police officer in New York City is physically demanding, and neither the city nor the department will have lower fitness requirements. New York cops don’t need easier tests, just a little love — and policies that help them fight crime.

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