School of Health Sciences


Master of Science in Human Performance (MS)


Jared H. Hornsby


Law Enforcement, Back Pain, Duty Belts, Wellness, Fitness


Health and Physical Education


Fitness and musculoskeletal injuries are a major health concern among United States law enforcement personnel. The objectives of this study were twofold: 1) to compare the effects of wearing work gear and not wearing work gear during job related specific activities; and 2) identify the negative effects of the required work equipment on law officials and exploring methods to decrease the negative effects. There is an undeniable prevalence of law officials and back issues and other musculoskeletal complications which presents an interrelated research and field test environment. This study leverages research to help advance the knowledge of law enforcement performance, and injury prevention to provide a solution to alleviate or diminish the prevalence of numerous musculoskeletal injuries. A study had shown 62 % of law enforcement officials suffered from low back pain as a result of the duty belts worn (25). The purpose of this current study was to compare the Academy cadets’ fitness scores absent of equipment and wearing the fully equipped duty belts in relations to job performance. Police Officers and Sheriff's Deputies in training completed a Regional Law Enforcement Academy that consisted of 33 participants (24 Males and 9 Females). Descriptive statistics (age, height, weight) for all cadets were (29.5 +7.5 years, 174.3 + 7.0 cm, and 97.7 + 25.5 kg), males (28 6.4 + 6.5 years, 1775.8 + 5.9 cm, and 99 + 27.8 kg), and females (33.6 + 8.8 years, 167.2 + 4.3 cm, and 94.4 + 19.4 kg). All cadets completed the Academy’s standardized fitness protocols, the outdoor tactical obstacle course, and 5-10-5 Pro Agility while wearing a fully equipped duty belt or no duty belt. Results of the study had revealed no huge significant impact of the duty equipment on human anatomy and job performance skills. Both the Loaded groups of Males and Females were greater than the alpha (p>0.05). However, various studies had gathered a large data pool of Police Officers and Sheriff Deputies suffering from back complications from their work equipment and the recurring continuous effect of it.