Nashville Police Dept Changes Standards To Increase Number Of Female Officers

Nashville’s police department changed its standards to increase the number of female officers that make up its workforce.

As part of an initiative to make the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s 30% female, the MNPD dropped an ability test for police recruits and replaced it with an easier agility test, WSMV reported. The change resulted in more recruits passing, particularly women.

The original test, known as the Cooper Standards Test, “measured pushups, sit ups, a 300-meter sprint and a 1.5-mile run,” a report from the MNPD said. During an 18-month period between 2019 and 2021, a total of 1138 recruits attempted to join the MNPD. Of those, 72 (6%) failed the Cooper Standards Test.

In 2021, Police Chief John Drake signed the 30×30 initiative to make women 30 percent of the MNPD by 2030. Part of this drive involved dropping the Cooper Standards Test in favor of the Physical Agility Test which “consists of a 99-yard agility run, a rescue simulation (dummy drag), chain link fence climb, solid wall climb and a 500 yard run,” according to the MNPD.

In the 18 months following the change, 967 recruits applied for jobs at the MNPD, 843 progressed in the hiring process, and just 22 failed the Physical Agility Test, a fail rate of just 2%.

While more women failed than men (15 versus seven), the agility test is seen as a way to get more women onto the force.

Commander Tiffany Gibson, the MNPD’s first female director of training with the department’s Training Academy, told WSMV that women made up 11% of the department in 2023 and now make up 13%.

“We’re definitely growing, so if we can just keep that momentum going,” Gibson told the outlet. “I believe that it is definitely attainable. We still have some time, and we’re just going to keep working really hard to keep making sure that we get there, at least very close to it.”

In addition to the physical test changes, the MNPD has added lactation rooms for nursing moms and more flexible schedules, which would also benefit male officers. Female police officers already receive maternity leave, and both male and female officers can take sick days.

In the future, Gibson said she hopes to build a 24/7 childcare facility for the families of MNPD staff and officers.

“We’re trying to get going, possibly help sponsor our own childcare facility, and I think that would be really helpful for females definitely, but also for families in general at the department,” Gibson told WSMV.

New officer Emma Long told the outlet she hopes the changes lead to more women in the MNPD.

“More qualified and strong women to be in this police department and be leaders in this police department,” she said. “I mean I think it would be a great thing to see.”

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