Police officers need to be in top physical shape in order to protect and serve the public, so police academies screen new recruits based on their fitness. Each state has different standards for the physical training evaluation required for entrance to basic training, but there are some commonalities between every academy’s requirements.
Key Traits for Physical Fitness
There are three basic requirements for new recruits’ fitness:
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Physical Strength
- Flexibility throughout the Body
Physical fitness scores are determined by an applicant’s age, gender and weight. Women and older candidates have lower standards required for their physical fitness.
Tests used in Police Academy Physical Training Evaluation
Each police academy has different versions of the physical fitness test, so not every evaluation will be the same. The most common evaluations share many of the same testing objectives however, so there are some challenges you can expect in advance:
- Sit and Reach Test
The sit and reach test requires new recruits to prove their hamstring flexibility. Sitting on the floor and placing both feet against a fixed block, police cadets must reach as far as possible towards their toes. The farther a cadet can reach, the better their score. For male cadets between ages 20-40, the passing score is a reach of 16 inches.
- 1-Minute Sit-up Test
Cadets have one minute to complete as many full repetitions of a basic, bent-leg sit-up as they can. This determines the abdominal endurance of an applicant, an essential trait for many types of physical activity. The more sit-ups, the better a cadet’s score will be. For male police officers between ages 20-40, the passing score is between 34-37 sit-ups.
- 1 Repetition Maximum Bench Press
The maximum bench press test is the main determinant of physical strength for new police officers. This evaluation of upper body strength has many different versions across different police departments, but the bench press is the most commonly used test. The score on this test is determined by the ratio of the weight lifted by the cadet divided by their body weight. For male cadets between ages 20-30, the passing ratio is .98. For male cadets between the ages of 30-39, the passing ratio is .87.
- Timed 1.5 Mile Run
The timed run is a basic measurement of cardiovascular endurance. New recruits must be able to complete a 1.5 mile run at a good pace. For male police officers between the ages of 20-29, the passing score is 13 minutes and 45 seconds. For male police officers between the ages of 30-39, the passing score is 14 minutes and 31 seconds.