Members of the POST Council had to decide whether to change the rule that all prospective Georgia police officers must complete this obstacle course in 2 minutes and 6 seconds before they can be admitted to the training academy.
EXHIBITION, Ga. – – You couldn’t believe a two-minute fitness test for future Georgia cops would create so much controversy.
However, the new test sparked an emotional debate among law enforcement officials who originally approved the idea a year ago.
The Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) was concerned about two recruits who suddenly died of medical problems early in their basic training and decided to take a screening test for physical agility.
The PT test persists after an emotional debate
It was an emotional debate in front of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council over a fitness test for future officers.
Anyone who wants to become a police officer or deputy in Georgia must first complete an obstacle course within 2 minutes and 6 seconds. If they fail twice, they are not allowed to start their training class. In other words, if they fail the physical agility test, they cannot be law enforcement officers.
“Not everyone deserves to be a Georgia state cop,” said Chris Wigginton.
He is the executive director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center who also worked on developing the test.
The Peace Officer Standards and Training Council sets guidelines for all Georgia police officers. Would the 22 members reverse their rule on the physical aptitude test?
Wigginton said 14% of all recruits have failed since the test became mandatory in January. However, if you factor in those who came back for a second try, the failure rate drops to 3%.
“This has allowed our instructors to spend more time with recruits who are returning to your agency and beneficial to your agency,” Wigginton told POST councilors during a meeting to discuss the test.
“We don’t spend that 90% of the time with someone who might fail anyway.”
However, some sheriffs complained that higher standards caused bigger problems.
Banks County Sheriff Carlton Speed complained that some sheriffs cannot find recruits who can pass the obstacle course standard. He asked POST to let them do the entire 11 week course instead of having it pass before class started.
“We don’t have people opening the doors to get into this profession,” complained Banks County’s Sheriff Carlton Speed. Speed is also in the POST Council.
He said some Georgia sheriffs had difficulty finding recruits who could pass the test, forcing them to consider other applicants who may have had driving convictions or marijuana use but can still complete the obstacle course on time.
“Every county in Georgia is fighting to get people to work for them,” he said. “We’re not against physical fitness standards at the Georgia Sheriffs Association.”
Speed complained that one of his new hires – a retired marine and firearms expert – has now failed the PT test three times. He is also 71 years old.
Speed urged POST to change the rules so that every recruit can begin mandate training. However, give these by the end of the eleven week course to pass the PT test.
Others in the room seemed to agree that there should be a compromise.
“I hope this family, the POST family, the Georgia law enforcement family can come up with something that we can agree to halfway through,” said former POST executive Ken Vance. “We’re not doing that now.”
Mike Ayers, executive director of POST, got angry when some suggested watering down the PT standard. He is 57 and passed the test.
However, for current POST CEO Mike Ayers, who has spent more than a year carefully implementing the new PT program, the talk of a compromise is painful.
“If that costs me my job, when everything is said and done, then so be it,” he told the panel. Then Ayers said in a rising voice, “You know you have to stand up for something! Or you will fall for something! I am the one responsible for going to this alternate’s family or that officer’s family and explaining why they died in mandate training! “
The entire POST Council voted. The PT screening standards will not be changed.
“We just have different opinions,” said Speed afterwards. “I’m looking for a compromise and unfortunately we didn’t get it today.”
The next recruiting training starts in April. Time to get in shape.
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