GRPD offers physical fitness workshop to boost applicant success rates

Published on January 10, 2019

Photo of a physical fitness workshop conducted by the GRPD

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – As the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) welcomes the new year, it’s taking a history lesson to increase the success rate for police officer applicants. That’s because the department has identified the state’s physical fitness requirements as a stumbling block for police officer applicants. 

There’s a large gap between the number of initial applicants and those who pass the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) physical fitness requirements during the non-certified hiring process, according to Lt. Maureen O’Brien, commander of the department’s Community Engagement Unit.  

“Since we initiated the sponsored classes in 2017, we’ve seen about a 60 percent pass rate for the physical agility test,” O’Brien said. “Losing half our applicants because they were not prepared for the physical standards was a major setback to our goals. We want to help all of the applicants to know upfront what the standards are and to help them be successful.”  

During the 2017 non-certified hiring process, 82 applicants took the MCOLES test but only 51 passed. In 2018, the pass rate was similar with 155 applicants taking the test with only 60 meeting the standard to advance to the next stage in the hiring process. The non-certified process, or Grow Our Own initiative, allows individuals to be hired by the City even if they aren't certified as a police officers. The City covers the cost of the police academy and pays wages while the recruits attend the academy.

GRPD is hosting a free and voluntary physical fitness workshop well in advance of the hiring process to address this issue and increase accessibility to those who want to be a police officer. The workshop is 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 2 at Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s gym, 319 Sheldon Blvd. SE. Free parking is available in the ramp south of the gym off Goodrich Street SE. Participants register for one 40-minute session that includes a demonstration of how to complete each exercise properly and the chance to try it themselves.  

“We want the applicants to know what the standards are and how to perform the test properly, and we want to provide pointers so they can better their chances of passing when the time comes,” O’Brien said.  

Workshop qualifications include:

  • At least 18 years old on or before February 2, 2019
  • Anyone interested in practicing the MCOLES physical standards
  • Participation waiver signature required prior to session
  • Appropriate attire that includes athletic clothing and shoes
  • Prior physician approval is recommended
  • Appear at the registered time slot

In addition to the physical fitness workshop, the City’s Human Resources Department and GRPD recruiters will be on-hand to answer questions about the qualifications, hiring process and benefits of being a City employee. Registration is available HERE or on the GRPD Facebook page. For more information, email Officer Josh Cudney at