Around 2000 candidates from all over the State have come to Newport hoping to get into the D.E.C. Academy. They’ve all completed a civil service exam and are now at the West Canada High School hoping to pass the physical test, but D.E.C. Lieutenant Aaron Gordon says it isn’t as easy as you might think.
"Just to get through this process, there are a lot of failures because people come unprepared. They don’t train before they come here. They don’t run, they don’t do sit up’s and push up’s. They think if I’m just a regular person and I can come to this and pass…. That’s usually not going to happen."
In fact around 50% of the candidates fail the physical requirements of the test. The test started with sit up’s, and right away two candidates were out. Jennifer Greis drove all the way from Buffalo and couldn’t get through the second part of the test: push up’s.
"I mean I was really nervous, so maybe the nerves got to me but… I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ll try it again if I get the letter again in a couple years. I’ll be back."
The candidates then had to complete a mile and a half timed run, and swim for 100 yards. When it was all over, half of this group had failed out. White Plains Candidate Matthew Jackman completed the physical end of the test and gave future candidates a little advice.
"Definitely really train hard before you get up here. Just do everything that’s on that checklist, make sure you can do it all so you don’t waste a 3&1/2 hour car ride coming up here."
Candidates who pass the physical test then have to go through a background check, take a psychological examination before going on to the academy. Neil Stevens is a Tech Sargent for the D.E.C., and makes sure all the physical testing is being performed correctly. He says as tough as this testing may seem, the training only gets tougher.
"When they complete the testing today we give them the: come prepared to the academy because you’ll need to be fit to meet the standard of our PT program."
Those who do make it to the academy have to endure 29 weeks of training before they’re able to start working as police officers. Those who didn’t make it usually have to wait around 4 years before another class starts up.
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