So you think you’ve got what it takes to be a police officer?

Then maybe it’s time to put yourself to the test.

The Seymour Police Department will conduct physical agility testing for potential new officer hires at 8 a.m. May 13 at the Bollinger Athletic Complex at Trinity Lutheran High School in Seymour.

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In order to pass, candidates must be able to complete a standing vertical jump of at least 13½ inches, do a minimum of 24 sit-ups in one minute, 21 push-ups, run 300 meters in 82 seconds and run 1½ miles in 18 minutes, 56 seconds.

The requirements are the same as the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy’s physical agility entrance standards, said Police Chief Bill Abbott.

“All hires have to complete the academy within their first year of service,” he said.

“So that’s the idea behind having them the same. If you can do our testing, you can do theirs, and it’s one less hurdle to have to worry about.”

The academy’s exit standards are more difficult, he said.

Abbott said agility is important because being a police officer can be very physically demanding work.

“I’ve had to jump over fences before and chase after suspects,” he said. “Sometimes, you get into physical encounters with people and there’s no warmup or stretching. You just go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds.”

By being able to jump, run and complete push-ups and sit-ups, candidates are demonstrating core strength, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and lung capacity, all of which are needed to be a police officer.

Although the agility testing might not sound too difficult at first, Abbott said not everyone passes.

In fact, only about half of those who show up are able to complete all five requirements, he said.

“If we have 100 applications, about 50 will not even show up for the agility testing, and of those 50 that do, about 25 will pass,” he said.

Push-ups and sit-ups usually are what end up disqualifying a candidate, he said.

After passing the agility test, applicants will take a written test at noon the same day at the police department. They will be provided with a study guide and have two hours to go over the material before taking a two-hour written exam.

“It covers a lot of information that may or may not be related to police work,” he said.

Candidates need at least an 80 percent to pass and are ranked based on their combined scores on the agility testing and written exam.

The top performers will be called in for a formal interview and background check. After that process is completed, candidates must fill out a 27-page questionnaire, and then a few will be chosen for a second interview.

At that point, Abbott will extend a job offer of probationary officer to the top candidate. That person will then begin going through the acceptance process for the state Public Employees’ Retirement Fund.

“PERF requires an extensive psychological and medical evaluation,” Abbott said.

The entire process from agility testing to hiring takes six to nine months, he said.

Normally, the agility testing is done in January, but Abbott said he decided to push it back this year because there were no openings available at that time.

The department will have an open position in February 2018 after the retirement of Sgt. Ernie Davidson.

Those wanting to attempt the agility testing next month will need to show identification when they arrive at the gym and should wear workout clothing.

A new hire application along with copies of the applicant’s birth certificate and high school diploma, college degree or military DD214 release forms should be on file with the police department before taking the agility test.

Abbott said currently, around 40 applications have been submitted, so he expects around 20 to show up that day.

If you go

What: Seymour Police Department officer new hire physical agility testing

When: 8 a.m. May 13

Where: Trinity Lutheran High School’s Bollinger Athletic Complex, 7120 N. County Road 875E, Seymour

Those wanting to attempt the agility testing will need to show identification when they arrive at the gym and should wear workout clothing.

A new hire application along with copies of the applicant’s birth certificate and high school diploma, college degree or military DD214 forms should be on file with the police department before taking the agility test.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.