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Police Vision Standards

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1980) Pages: 275-285
J E Sheedy
Date Published
11 pages
Necessary police officer vision tasks are enumerated and analyzed, and standards recommended for color vision, acuity, binocularity, and other vision skills.
This study was conducted in the Columbus, Ohio Police Department. Police perform many different tasks requiring great vision skill. Although some skills cannot be measured, standards can be developed for acuity, binocularity, color vision, and peripheral vision. Visual acuity standards are obtained from license plate and street sign reading tests. Consideration of standard Ohio sign and license plate data, visual acuity, and other information reveals that 20/20 to 20/30 vision in both eyes is required for adequate performance of all tasks; those with poorer vision should be referred to an optometrist. It is also recommended that police departments continue to hire officers with poor uncorrected vision that can be corrected to 20/20. However, since officers will often be compelled to perform their duty after losing their glasses, face identification and shooting tests are discussed for various degrees of acuity; uncorrected vision should be no worse than 20/40 in one eye and 20/200 in the other. Good steropsis, a form of depth perception obtained from binocularity, is essential for many police tasks, especially driving. Moreover, quickly changing fixation between distant and near objects is also important. Professional eye examinations should establish clear, comfortable binocular and stereopsis at all normal working distances and viewing angles before passing a candidate. Finally, color vision should allow officers to recognize all basic colors, peripheral vision should be normal, and the eyes should not be diseased. Footnotes, tables and technical information are included.