Police officers encounter a wide variety of physically demanding situations while carrying out their jobs. Because of this, it is important for officers to be in acceptable physical condition. In the state of Colorado, there are a variety of requirements set forth by different police departments. These requirements can apply to both entry-level and laterally mobile candidates. Because of the variations in physical requirements from office to office, contact the office you hope to work at and inquire about their specific requirements.
Colorado Basic Requirements
The Colorado Department of Law under the Attorney General's office lays out several basic requirements for peace officer certification in the state. Colorado mandates that peace officers must pass a physical examination. The state law then specifies that each individual hiring agency can determine the scope of evaluation and examination. Individual agencies also have the right to require prospective officers to take a physical agility test.
Police Academy Requirements
Police academies are able to set the depth of their physical evaluation requirements and set their own standards, just as each police office can. The Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy requires students to agree that they are capable of doing daily sit-ups, pushups, and runs of one and a half to two miles. Candidates must also agree to do strength training drills, handcuffing drills, baton drills, control hold and take-down techniques, and pressure point applications. An applicant must also supply, within one year of application to the academy, a form signed by a doctor who has given the applicant a complete physical examination with focus on cardiovascular endurance, strength and body proportions in relation to composition. The doctor must also determine the muscular strength and endurance of the abdominal area, hamstrings and lower back.
Physical Fitness Tests
Physical fitness tests for the police department in Durango county and the Adams County Sheriff's Department feature similar requirements that revolve around pushups, sit-ups and running. The Durango county police department's fitness test requires 25 sit-ups in one minute, 25 pushups within one minute, a 100-yard dash within 15 seconds, and a one-mile run within ten minutes. In Adams County, the Sheriff's Department academy cadet selection process employs a point ranking system. A candidate is given one minute to complete pushups and sit-ups. The number completed determines the points based on a predetermined scale. For example, 24 to 27 repetitions would rate five points. A sit-and-reach test and a one-and-a-half-mile run-walk are measured the same way. The length of reach determines points, as does the length of time to complete the run-walk. Up to 50 of the top ranking candidates based on all hiring criteria are interviewed for an Academy Cadet position, so scoring as close as possible to the maximum award of 40 points is ideal.
Physical Ability or Agility Tests
Physical ability tests or agility tests go beyond the basic physical fitness test as they strive to simulate situations a police officer might encounter. Not all agencies require an agility test. In Colorado Springs, potential officers must complete a 540-yard obstacle course run, and pull a weighted duffel to the ground within a specific space to simulate a foot chase. Additional tests include physically taking down a 55-pound duffel on both sides of the body, squeezing a handgun trigger six times with each hand, and dragging a large, 135-pound simulated body for 34 feet within a lane that is only six feet wide. In Adams County, there is a mandatory obstacle course simulating a chase through a city, featuring stairs, fences and tunnels. The course culminates in dragging a 165-pound dummy for 20 feet.