T Nation

Disgusted at Sheriff's

So recently I found a job listing for new recruits the sheriff’s office. There was a written test and an agility test.

One thing to mention is that these tests were supposed to simulate a real foot persuit and other sheriff duties.

Let me describe the “agility” test.

Course 1: Run approximately 20-25 feet, step over a small rectangular board that simulates a curb. Next you turn slight right and step over another “curb”, then run 5 paces, step over another curb then go over a 3 foot wall. Then to finish it off you would run about 15 feet at a sprint.

The course was such that even a somewhat fit guy could easily run over the curbs without even breaking pace. Also, the 3 foot wall you could hurdle easily if you were so inclined. I forget what their quoted average time was but i believe he said 22 seconds. I dont recall hearing my time on this one but i think it was like 13 seconds.

Course 2: This course had the 6 foot wooden wall. I am 6’1" so its not that big of a deal to me. I think i cleared it in like 3 seconds. Even shorter semi fit people should be able to jump this wall with little amount of effort and almost no time wasted. Well the average time for completion over the years was 15 seconds. There was even one guy who was so big he wasn’t able to climb the wall.

Course 3: This course was approximately 100-120 lbs of sandbag dummy. It was sitting up. You basically just had to get behind it, wrap your arms around its chest and drag it 8 feet backwards. The time doesn’t start until the dummy’s feet cross the first line then you go 8 feet then the finish line.

I asked the guy if i could just fireman’s carry the dummy but he just looked at me strange and said no. The average time was supposed to be like 18 seconds. I got 5.7 seconds. I could have done it faster but the dummy legs were hitting my legs and I had to slow down or trip.

Course 4: a 500m run. After the first two courses most poeple had enough points to pass already so he said “You just have to finish the run. whatever time it takes.” What I took that to mean was “As long as you don’t pass out and die on this run you are ok”. I think after he quoted an average of 2-3 minutes. 2-3 minutes for like 1 lap around a track(really it was a small parking lot).

I am not really great at running and did it in 1 minute 40 seconds. I imagine that someone who runs alot could probably do it in like 1 minute.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the job is very respectable and they do great things. I just feel disgusted at the whole recruitment process and think that people who are supposedly doing “foot pursuits” should be be able to hit higher expectations than these.

Does anyone else find that crazy?

i see your point, but if they raised the requirements too much then there wouldn’t be enough police officers or deputies or whatever. that’s the only reason i can think of. by the way, i think the same thing when i see some fatass cop driving around in his cruiser, “man whats that guy gonna do if it comes down to a foot race?” call for back up, for the fit, in-shape cops??

You must be new to this field of work. They have to make it easy enough so they can hire women too. I’ve been through some harder police fitness testing where the women quit half way through. Then again maybe some departments just don’t care if their officers are in shape. Is this a big city S.O. or some redneck S.O.? Sometimes that makes all the difference in standards.

I got out of LE a few years ago and went back to school. I have a few ideas that might, or might not, explain why you had to go through the formality of such a lame test.

One, the mere act of having to show up probably scratched a few applicants but I doubt you were worried about them anyway.

The mere act of having a physically agility test may be either paying lip service to the politicians (like the county commissioners, who prolly have no idea what a reasonable man, or t-man should be able to do, and they weren’t actually present to witness the spectacle of lameness you described) or possibly a health insurance provider, again not actually present to see the charade.

Another possibility is that they are having such a hard time finding qualified applicants that can pass a reasonable agility test, haven’t smoked too much weed, or haven’t been fired for stealing from an employer, so they water down the hiring procedures. Sad statement on our society but it’s true. I went to the mall the other day and was shocked by the # of disgustingly fat people were there, and I’m far from having the best physique here.

Another factor, if the county you are in is small enough, is that the powers that be already know who they want to hire, and they don’t want their beer bellied brother in law, neighbor, nephew, etc losing out to a T-man like yourself, so everyone gets to pass.

Another thing, I hope it hasn’t come to this, but it could be that they are afraid of a lawsuit if some out of shape slacker keels over. True story, a buddy of mine, love him like a brother, but not LE material at all, tested for one of the local suburbs (a town w/ no shortage of gang-bangers, crack heads, and so on).

The test was fairly strenuous, but IMHO to work in a city like that, in addition to that test, you should be prior LE, ex-military, or atleast have some decent martial arts training, anyway, they had to call the ambulance for him in the middle of the test, someday some liberal judge might entertain a suit like that.

Anyway, sorry to get so long winded. everything I said is just one man’s experiences. I wish you luck in your endeavor to be in law enforcement. PM me if I can help.

Think about this: say you were one of those average guys (ie slow and out of shape). Would you feel comfortable potentially having to fight for your life with criminals?

I know if I go in to LE (which I am considering after I get by bachelors) I will be in MUCH better shape than the minimum requirements, for the safety of myself and my fellow officers, as well as the public.


You also have to consider the police academy. There you will train your ass off and most departments know this. Most hiring processes just ensure the minimum level of fitness and health, and then the academy will get you into shape. Our academy incorporated weight training, sprints, and longer distance runnning and you had no choice but to come out in better shape. The hiring tests are a joke, to be sure, but it really is just a minimum.