Police hopefuls put through paces
"The bad guys aren't going to quit when it's snowing or raining."
That's how Lansing Police Capt. Ben Ontiveros explained why the department went ahead with its scheduled physical agility test Saturday morning at the Lansing Middle School track, despite subfreezing temperatures and plenty of snow still on the ground.
Three Lansing officers met 12 applicants vying for a single opening at the department at the track to time them running a loop around the 400-meter track. The course included a series of traffic cones to weave through and a hurdle for them to clamber over. The better an applicant's time through the course, the better his or her chances stood for landing the job. Although officers cleared two lanes of the track on Friday, candidates were allowed 45 seconds longer than the usually required time of two minutes because of the extreme cold and the snow on the track.
Bill Lynn, a government worker from Lansing, said after completing the test, "The cold got the upper hand." But, he said, "It was all right."
Damion Freeman, a shipping clerk from Shawnee, said after completing the course that he had thought it would be harder. The former Marine, who also had applied for the Shawnee police department, said the qualifying physical fitness test at Shawnee was more intense, including a fence recruits had to scale and the dragging of a 150-pound life-sized dummy.
Freeman said that the test was tough for some, and probably "enough to weed out the ones who can't make it."
Ontiveros, one of the officers overseeing the test, said all 12 recruits who showed up passed the physical fitness test. The department had received 38 applications for the position, but Ontiveros said he thought many of the applicants had assumed the test wouldn't be held because of snowy, cold conditions.
Lieutenant Tony Waterman and Ontiveros each said physical conditioning was important for Lansing police officers. Waterman estimated he'd been involved in 18 foot chases in his 15 years on the force, and Ontiveros estimated that about once every two months his duties required some combination of physical endurance, strength or flexibility.
Ontiveros said the department would probably need another eight weeks to select its new officer. After the physical agility test Saturday, recruits completed a four-part written exam that tested their math, reading and writing skills.
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