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Richmond County Sheriff's Office tests physical abilities in five-category test


Sara Caldwell/ Staff
Charles Mitchell stands, at the makeshift starting line, with his arms stretched before those participating start the mile run portion during Physical Tests at the Wilson Family Y on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 in Augusta, Georgia.
Sunday, March 9, 2014 7:14 PM
Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 2:44 AM
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The first week of physical training tests is over for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and about 75 percent of the deputies passed.

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Cardosa Jeanole does push-ups with fellow deputies during the Richmond County Sheriff's Office physical training test. Around 75 percent of the deputies passed the test during the first week.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Cardosa Jeanole does push-ups with fellow deputies during the Richmond County Sheriff's Office physical training test. Around 75 percent of the deputies passed the test during the first week.

“I’m actually very encouraged about the preliminary numbers,” said Lt. Bill Probus, who oversaw the effort. “I think a lot of people were apprehensive about the tests, but I’m very pleased.”

Over the years, physical training, or PT, requirements have come and gone, but longtime employees participating Wednesday said those past tests weren’t strictly enforced.

Chief Deputy Pat Clayton said it had been at least 15 years since the sheriff’s office had PT requirements. Officers were also not required to pass any physical requirements when hired, though deputies were given discounted gym memberships and encouraged to keep themselves in shape.

Aiken and Columbia county sheriff’s offices have existing physical fitness requirements.

When Sheriff Richard Round­tree came into office in 2013, the subject was reintroduced to members of the sheriff’s council, citizen’s advisory board and the command staff. Clayton said the decision to reinstate requirements was unanimous.

The office’s Total Fitness Pro­gram is based on the Cooper Insti­tute Absolute Standards for law enforcement and is based on a points system. Employees must score at least 35 out of 50 points to pass. Each category, which includes a one-mile run, 300-meter run, one maximum rep bench press and the number of push-ups and sit-ups completed in one minute, has 10 possible points.

Deputy Jerry Martinez, who has been with the sheriff’s office for 17 years and is an ex-Marine, said he wasn’t really concerned about the tests. His biggest concern was the mile run, but that’s only because he recently had the flu.

He frequents the gym and often runs into co-workers there, but there are some officers who are worried about the testing. To him, it makes sense that someone is less likely to run from a fit officer versus an overweight one.

“Now everyone is going to have to be in shape,” Martinez said. “Criminals stay the same age, but we get older.”

Sgt. John Gray, of the K-9 unit, was the oldest tester at the Wilson Family Y on Whee­ler Road on Wednes­day.

“I’m getting ready to turn 60, so I can feel my age,” he said.

He related the program to the endurance training they do with the K-9s and called the decision to bring back testing a “common sense approach.”

“If you can run a mile, you can last a little longer out there,” said Gray, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 1977.

Age wasn’t a factor for Gray, who passed every category.

“John is doing pretty well,” said Probus, as he watched the testers run a mile on the dirt track off Whee­ler Road. “He has come out to play and passed every category on his own.”

Probus said 31 of the 41 testers in the first week passed. Those who don’t pass have until Jan. 1, 2017, to make the cut.

“It takes time to get out of shape, so we’re giving them that time to get in shape,” Probus said.

The first set of tests this year will give the sheriff’s office an idea of the overall fitness level of its employees and give employees an idea of weaknesses and strengths.

The sheriff’s office will work with the employees who do not pass to find a plan to increase their fitness level and overall health. New hires will fall under the same rules and do not have to pass the test until 2017.

Testing will continue yearly.

The sheriff’s office is working on alternative programs for employees who have legitimate medical issues that preclude them from doing some of the testing requirements. All employees are required to complete a Phy­sical Activity Readiness Ques­tion­naire before testing. Anyone who answers yes to any of the questions is required to meet with a doctor before testing.

The first round of tests will continue through May.

The sheriff and Clayton are scheduled for their PT tests this week. Clayton said he doesn’t expect a perfect score but anticipates earning at least 40-45 of the 50 points.

His co-worker, 55-year-old Col. Robert Partain, posted a near perfect score Thursday of 48 points.


Employees must score at least 35 out of 50.


Minutes Points

Under 8:38 10

8:30-9:19 9

9:20-10 8

10:01-10:41 7

10:42 -11:22 6

11:23-12:03 5

12:04-12:44 4

12:45-13:25 3

13:26-14:06 2

Over 14:07 1


Seconds Points

Under 46 10

46-52 9

53-59 8

60-66 7

67-73 6

74-80 5

81-87 4

88-94 3

95-101 2

Over 101 1


Percentage of Points

body weight

Over 95 10

90-95 9

84-89 8

78-83 7

72-77 6

66-71 5

60-65 4

55-59 3

50-54 2

Under 50 1


Number Points

Over 35 10

32-35 9

28-31 8

25-27 7

21-24 6

17-20 5

13-16 4

10-12 3

6-9 2

Under 6 1


Number Points

Over 41 10

38-41 9

34-37 8

30-33 7

26-29 6

22-25 5

19-21 4

16-18 3

13-15 2

Under 13 1

Comments (5) Add comment
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Sweet son
Sweet son 03/09/14 - 12:57 pm
John Gray and Robert Partain are good old school cops!!!

Haven't seen John lately but I did see Robert on his police bike in video footage for a First Friday. I was impressed and someone told me that he was really into his biking.

rational thought trumps emotion
rational thought trumps emotion 03/09/14 - 01:12 pm
Great Program

Very much needed in all police agencies. Good to see the Sheriff, Chief, Colonel, etc. all participating. If the top leadership is out there with the men doing the exact same thing and getting scores such as the Colonel did with 48 points, no one has any excuse as this has been on the horizon for a year now. Great job, keep it up - get fit, save lives and improve your own health.

Young Fred
Young Fred 03/09/14 - 03:39 pm
I remember

just a few years back. Well, I say "a few" as you get older "a few" might not mean the same to a fifty something versus a twenty something.

Anyhow, I remember (about 10 or 15 years ago, just a "few" years) an Aiken cop that had a heart-attack and died while chasing shop-lifter. The shop-lifter was ultimately charged with manslaughter.

Now, I understand the mentality behind the law, and it makes a certain amount of sense, but I always felt justice was not really served in this instance.

Most especially when they showed a picture of the cop...let's just say,
he wasn't what most people would call "fit" at first glance.

I got no problem with getting scum off the streets, I do have a problem with laying a permanent record on some guy just because he could outrun an obese fellow. Austin made some lame-arz excuse about "if you run, you deserve the gun", and I can see that argument, but not everything is quite so black and white.

I would think being physically fit would be a job requirement, if you're a beat cop. A requirement that would have to be passed on at least a yearly basis.

GerrySeavo 03/09/14 - 11:04 pm
As a military brat and Air

As a military brat and Air Force reservist, I have always felt fitness was paramount in any public safety, military, or security position. Growing up in German, I encountered the Polzei ( German police) and the Gendarme (French national police), they were truly some of the fittest specimens I had ever seen in my life. They were efficient and well respected. Being fit enables you to keep up with criminals and acts a visual deterrent. I am glad RCSO is heading in this direction.

KSL 03/10/14 - 12:19 am
Good for them

But, I do think long time experience and intellect is important in solving crimes, in of itself is as valuable. Oh, and knowlege. Knowledge and experience are not necessarily the same!

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