Over the weekend, we got an inside look at what it takes to become a police officer.
JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com‘s own Chelsea Swift took the Regional Physical Agility Test among 70 other potential officers.
Here is more on her experience.
As local law enforcement agencies work to recruit more officers, we had the opportunity to speak with those interested in the job while learning more about the application process.
As police departments across the state and nation are looking to recruit more officers, we took a look at the application process for people in the region.
Alongside 70 applicants, Swift took the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Police Consortium Test.
“The first year we did the consortium was 2017 and we had almost 140 applicants every year. It’s consistently dropped 10, 15%,” said Joseph Makowski, NWPAR Training Coordinator.
Makowski explained that the consortium test allows applicants to be eligible for nearly 30 local police departments.
He said that nearly 70% passed the Physical Agility Test this year.
“If you prepare for this test a month or two in advance, you’re gonna pass this test. It’s not incredibly hard. They do validation studies to say what these test batteries can prove for your physical ability to do this job,” said Makowski.
The physical test starts with a 15 and a half inch vertical jump. While Swift passed this part of the test, some people said that the difficulty is overlooked and people miss the mark.
Participants must then complete 30 sit ups followed by a 300 meter run in under 60 seconds.
Swift said that she may have overestimated her upper body strength while failing to complete the necessary 25 push ups.
Last is the mile and a half run in which participants must complete in under 15 minutes and 54 seconds.
The City of Erie Police chief said that despite a lower turnout, he is encouraged by the makeup of the group.
“This is definitely a year with less people trying out, but we’re also seeing much more diversity in the class, so it’s a give and take. But it looks like there’d be some great officers,” said Chief Dan Spizarny, City of Erie Police.
Xavier Woods said that he’s wanted to be a cop his whole life and encourages others to take the test.
Woods said that he recognizes the city’s effort to recruit minorities.
“I think they are doing a good job of reaching out to people just to have the confidence to say ‘hey, I want to give this job a try, you know go for it.’ I’m just taking an opportunity today to see if I can fulfill my dream,” said Xavier Woods, Taking Police Test.
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Resean Thrower said more recently he believes he became interested in becoming an officer. He said that he sees the benefit of a more diverse complement including having more women in the department.
“What career can I have to help shape my community? Where I came from, if I think a lot of young African American see a Prep hooper, go to an officer, I think that would help us out tremendously in Erie. Having different backgrounds will help shutdown some altercations that way people can feel more comfortable,” said Resean Thrower, Taking Police Test.
After the physical test, officers took the written component. Those who passed both tests will be put on a list for potentially 28 local departments.