The first test for potential Pueblo police Officers took place Wednesday: Recruits run through an obstacle course through a parking garage across from the Police department to test their basic fitness level.
Applicants leap over barriers, crawl through tunnels, and carry 150 pound body bags. It may sound like fun, but this is not child’s play.
The applicants need to complete the course within two minutes and forty-five second while wearing a ballistic vest and belt which add an additional twenty-five pounds to their person.
All participants had trouble catching their breath by the end of their run.
“That weighted belt — that changes everything when you are running,” said Sgt. Zachary Ballas who oversees training and recruitment with the Pueblo Police Department. “Especially when you get to trying to run over the wall.”
The 4-foot wall is one of the first obstacles standing in the way of recruits. Some had difficulty getting over it and were disqualified.
Out of the 144 applicants trying out Wednesday, Sgt. Ballas hopes for 15 officers to fill the ranks to replace those that retire from the force.
“When we start looking at the hiring we start from the minimum,” said Sgt. Ballas. “When we get them into the academy then we start working from there. Cause we want them to be excellent.”
After the first round of physical exams, potential recruits face a long road before hitting the streets. Potential officers face written tests, interviews, background checks and additional strenuous physical exams.
Not everyone who ran the course Wednesday were trying out for the Pueblo Police Department. Nicholas Krug works in the Fremont County Jail, and hopes to go through Pueblo’s police academy to become a fully fledged Deputy for the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.
“I need to run more and do more cardio,” said Krug after finishing the obstacle course. “I’ve been in law enforcement for a while now and I wanted to take the step out of the jail and onto the road.”
KRDO’s own Dan Beedie tried his hand at the course:
For some, like Alex Drake, this isn’t their first time trying the test. Drake was cut last year during the interview process. However, she’s back this year, hoping for a different result.
“My family is all from Pueblo and my dad is actually in Pueblo PD right now so it runs in my blood,” said Drake. “I love Pueblo. It’s my town. It’s the only place I’m applying to so it means a lot to me.”
KRDO Only 2019