Probably Thought They Said Bear Claws – Memphis Police Recruits File Injury Claims En Masse over Bear Crawl Exercise

10 Jul, 2012 Bob Wilson


Recently all 66 recruits at the Memphis Police Training Academy - 100% of the class – filed claims for on the job injuries after undergoing a "bear crawl" exercise in temperatures approaching 100 degrees.  Apparently the claims started with just 10 recruits, but ultimately all of the recruits filed injury claims resulting from the exercise.

According to Sgt. Karen Rudolph, spokesperson for the Memphis Police Department, "The bear crawl is a routine exercise used by our physical training staff which builds upper body, arms, legs, lower back and abdominal strength". Rudolph left out that it also apparently injures everyone who has to do it.

I will say that this appears to be a very bright class, and they obviously learn things very quickly. I would suspect that there is more to this story than meets the eye. I would go so far as to suggest that perhaps the “Bear Crawl” is an exercise that the police recruits simply do not like to do.

I can't say that I blame them. The “Bear Crawl” is an exercise where the recruits are required to use both their hands and feet to walk or run like a bear.  I am not an expert on law enforcement, but I can hardly see where this would be a useful skill in the course of routine police work. True, Memphis is the city where the guy whose name used to be Earl went to become a blues singing cop with a heart and a strong love for his mother, but I never saw him do a bear crawl (my apologies to those who never saw the show “Memphis Beat” and do not realize that the lines between fiction and reality are clearly blurred for me). It is also difficult to hold a doughnut while running in that position. Overall it seems like a fairly useless endeavor.

Rudolph reported that most of the injuries required no treatment. Some recruits received first aid at the academy, ten recruits were sent for minor medical treatment and two decided to seek treatment after they left for the day. The department reports that the bear crawl incident is “under review”. They had no further comment.

It would seem the recruits would agree with my assessment. Can you imagine if 100% of your company's staff filed injury reports as the result of the same action? Would that make you take a second look at the alleged cause of the alleged injuries? I think it would. And clearly, in the American tradition of litigation avoidance, your company would likely fold like a lawn chair. That action, whatever it is and despite its importance to the overall goals of the company, would cease to exist or be severely modified in your business environment. I suspect that is the ultimate goal behind this “diaper blue flu”.

No word on when doughnut selection training begins. I assume they will fare much better with “bear claws” then “bear crawls”. I would expect a dramatic reduction in reported injuries on that.



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