HERSHEY, Pa. -

The head of the Pennsylvania State Police said he hopes the United States Justice Department will withdraw a lawsuit that claims the agency's physical fitness standards for recruits discriminates against women.

Commissioner Frank Noonan spoke Wednesday, a day after the federal government filed the lawsuit describing what it calls a pattern of discrimination.

Nearly all male recruits pass the initial physical fitness tests, while about 30 percent of women flunk it, according to the lawsuit.

The current standards, according to the state police, are as follows:

  • 300 meter run:  77 seconds
  • Pushups:  13 (no time limit)
  • Vertical jump:  14 inches
  • 1.5 mile run:  17 minutes, 48 seconds
  • Agility run:  23.5 seconds

The federal government said the tests, adopted by the state police in 2003, aren't job-related and aren't "consistent with business necessity."

Noonan said the state police "should not be bullied into lowering our standards" and that it makes sense to have the same standards for women and men.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order the department to hire women on an equal basis with men.