The police physical is a highly regulated selection procedure that looms as a high hurtle for many candidates. Known most accurately as the physical ability test, it requires the most obvious forms of preparation in the police selection process.
The department you are applying with will have done a strict job analysis to determine what activities to use in their testing. There are no arbitrary choices for test activities, scoring procedures or final test results. This stringent regulation of physical testing is in place to secure the best qualified candidates for the particular demands of police work. The activities you’ll be required to perform, and scored on, directly relate to critical law enforcement duties as demanded under the federally mandated guidelines for selection processes, called the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedure.
Candidates ultimately selected as police officers will be entering one of the most deadly professions in the United States. Police work not only carries staggering physical demands in day to day duties, but it’s also an extremely dangerous profession. Every year officers lose their lives in the line of duty. Police officers also face higher than average risk factors for cancer, back injury and physical disability.
You must be more than fit, more than strong, more than willing. You must be ready to perform as though lives depend on it. On test day, only your life as a continuing candidate is on the line, but that risk should be more than enough to get you fired up.
This physical ability test is nothing like gym class, or working out in your athletic club. It is meant to tax your body, push your reflexes and prey on your instincts. You will be scored on your ability to perform specific tasks and activities that will show clearly if you can perform the duties of a police officer. This is a physical screening program. It is meant to do only one thing: weed out those who can’t cut it.
A police officer doesn’t spend his or her day pumping iron, swimming laps or doing push ups. They jump fences at a dead run, sprint down streets and alleys, scramble through yards, climb chain link, avoid dogs, bullets, knives, fists and anything else that can be slung their way — and struggle with combative suspects who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. A police officer does not have a comfortable sweat suit, a jug of water at hand and a shower waiting after each session. They do their laps wearing several pounds of equipment, grab a drink of water when they can and shower when their shift is over.
You are preparing to be tested on your physical abilities. You need to be fit, clear-headed and ready to rumble. Come to this challenge armed with enthusiasm, excitement and anticipation of excellence. You need to show that, today, and every day as an officer, you can bring it to the force.