Training Day – Sheriff’s Office unveils ‘Physical Abilities Test’ course for deputies


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Running into burning buildings to rescue those trapped and pulling people from vehicles sinking in water-filled canals are just a couple of examples of the tasks deputies might encounter day-to-day. In an effort to improve overall performance of deputies in the field, the sheriff’s office unveiled a new “Physical Abilities Test” course on its campus last week.

“It feels good. I enjoy it,” Indian River County sheriff’s Lt. James Dixon said after finishing the course Jan. 12 in four minutes and 25 seconds. “It’s a balance of everything we’ll perform on the road.”

The course begins with a law enforcement deputy running out of a patrol car. The deputy then has to run two laps around the course trail, which is about 1,000 feet, Dixon said.

Next, the deputy has to drag an 180-pound dummy a few feet before going into a low crawl. Then, the deputy has to move side-to-side through serpentine poles and jump over a set of poles, Dixon said.

The officer then has to run up a set of stairs and back down, complete a battle rope exercise and a sled push exercise with 180 pound weights, Dixon said. The deputy then needs to take down another dummy and handcuff it.

Next, the officer has to jump over a wall and through a window opening before firing an unloaded gun, sheriff’s officials said. The deputy then has to run back to the patrol car.

Corrections deputies are also required to complete the course, but will start from a bench instead of the patrol car, sheriff’s officials said. Corrections deputies do not have to jump over the wall or through the window opening, and do not have to shoot the firearm, Dixon said.

“The course is designed to assess physical ability, mental focus, confidence, safety, and survival skills,” sheriff’s officials said. “The intent and mission is to build a law enforcement culture that understands and values the importance that a fitness standard brings to a deputy’s ability to perform to their highest level while serving the citizens of the community.”


The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office held a ribbon cutting ceremony last week for the new course, located just south of the sheriff’s hangar. The money to build the $7K course was donated by organizations that include Quail Valley Charities Inc., Ram Pro Construction & HDD and Odom, Conrado Enterprises – McDonald’s, sheriff’s officials said.

The course – which was built over the summer – sits on a two-acre lot.

“We’ll start doing training days out here. Sworn deputies will do the course twice a year,” Sheriff Eric Flowers said after the ceremony. “Six minutes or lower is the standard. The goal is to get sworn employees to do six minutes or less.”

Photos by Joshua Kodis



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