AIKEN - If Deputy Chris Williams ever gets into a foot chase with an armed criminal, he can't say he wasn't prepared for it.
The deputy was one of two dozen officers with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office who huffed and puffed Friday as they ran around a complex tactical shooting course complete with paper targets and large obstacles.
"It prepares you for some intense moments," said Deputy Williams, who is also a member of the high-risk entry team. "You are staying focused on what you are doing - to eliminate the target. Plus, you are going to know what to expect when you are out of breath and can't hardly shoot after running 50 to 75 yards, crawling and swerving."
The Sheriff's Office has spent all week testing the physical ability of its deputies while updating them on how to document forensic evidence and fill out victim notification forms.
The training continues today, when reserve deputies will complete physical fitness tests, classroom training and the tactical shooting course held at The Carolina Star shooting range.
Training sessions are held routinely throughout the year to keep the deputies fit, both physically and mentally. But unlike at some law enforcement agencies, the training is mandatory for sworn deputies with the Sheriff's Office, Lt. Michael Frank said.
But if the officers needed extra motivation, the Sheriff's Office provided incentives for peak performance.
"Depending on the officer's score, they get bonuses for PT (physical training) with the bench press, sit-ups and push-ups and running," Lt. Frank said.
Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (803) 648-1395.