PALMER PARK, Md. - The Prince George’s County Police Department wants to hire 350 new officers over the next two years, with 150 of them by this July. It is a long process to get a badge, and the very first step is a fitness test.
People take the test at Prince George’s County Police headquarters most Thursday mornings to see if they can make the cut.
FOX 5 talked to about a dozen potential recruits who arrived to take the test.
“I feel good,” one young man said. “A little bit nervous, but nothing is wrong with that.”
The test involves recruits performing as many push-ups and sit-ups each during a one-minute time period. There is also a 1.5-mile run. Minimum requirements for each part of the test depends on a person's age and gender. For example, a man between 20 to 29 years old must do at least 25 push-ups, 35 sit-ups and complete the run in 13 minutes and 30 seconds. (Click here to see all of the minimum requirements to pass the physical test)
We witnessed one man miss the sit-up requirement by just one, but he was assured by police recruiters that he can come back to take the test again as many times as he wants. That is not the case with the written test, which follows the fitness test. After that, there is still a lot more to the process.
“The polygraph, the psychological evaluation, they are going to have to get a physical done by a doctor,” said PGPD Police Officer 1st Class Nicholas Clayton. “Their entire background is going to get looked at – criminal, credit history. You have that opportunity to ask us some of the qualifiers so that you can sort of weed yourself out before you come out here and put yourself through the tests.”
Most of the potential recruits passed the fitness test on this day. The men and one woman who showed up had diverse backgrounds and reasons for being there. The woman who came opted not to be filmed so her current employer wouldn’t know she was looking for a job change.
Another participant used to play college football.
“It was kind of something I did with very little passion,” said Kelson Patterson. “I was good at it, but playing offensive tackle wasn't really anything that was really true to my heart.”
He majored in criminology and said being a police officer fits with him mentally and physically.
Autin LeCompte said his dad was in law enforcement and he has always felt blue was in his blood. He said his diabetes held him back for a time because some departments said he couldn’t join because of it.
“Unfortunately, I thought for a long time that it was not obtainable,” LeCompte said.
He ended up finishing first in the running portion of the fitness test.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything,” he said after finishing.
He went on to say, “I honestly just want to make a difference, and if I can get in with Prince George's County, this will be the most optimal and best chance to actually make that positive difference. I’m praying to God I can get further.”
Click here for more information about joining the Prince George’s County Police Department. You can also call 310-780-8175 or 888-310-9736.