Physical Abilities Assessment Guidelines

Law enforcement, military and other public safety organizations require their applicants, trainees, and incumbents to maintain a certain level of physical fitness to be "fit for duty." Job-related duties require an individual to be prepared to perform optimally in certain situations with strength, stamina, speed and power.

The Physical Abilities Assessment (PAA) will require maximum physical exertion. Candidates are encouraged to put forth their best effort rather than target a specific goal during the assessment process. Prior to reporting for the PAA, it is recommended that candidates refrain from drinking coffee, soda and energy drinks. Some of these may elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of dehydration. It is recommended that candidates be properly hydrated but it is important to avoid consuming excessive food or drink prior to assessment.

  • Candidates must present a valid photo identification at the assessment site.
  • Candidates should wear comfortable workout clothing, such as shorts or sweats, running shoes and a t-shirt.
  • Candidates may bring bottled water.

Assessment Categories

3-Minute Step Assessment

The purpose of the step assessment is to measure the heart rate recovery during the one minute period following three minutes of stepping. Procedure: The candidate will step up and down on a 12 inch bench at 24 cycles (up-up-down-down) per minute for 3 minutes. Immediately after the three minutes of stepping, the candidate sits down. A 60 second heart rate is taken starting five seconds after the completion of stepping.

Watch the 3-minute step assessment video.

Vertical Jump Assessment

This assessment is a measure of jumping or explosive power. It is an important area for pursuit tasks that require jumping and vaulting. Procedure: The candidate will stand on an electronic vertical jump measuring mat. The candidate will jump up vertically off the mat as high as possible and return both feet to the mat surface. The device will register the height of the jump. The best of 3 trials is the score.

Watch the vertical jump assessment video.

Sit-Up Assessment

This assessment measures abdominal muscular endurance. The objective of the sit-up assessment is to complete as many correct sit-ups as possible in 60 seconds. Procedure: The candidate starts by lying on the back, knees bent, heels flat on the floor, with hands cupped behind the ears. Avoid pulling on the head with the hands. The buttocks must remain on the floor with no thrusting of the hips.

Candidate's feet will be held down firmly on the floor. The candidate will perform as many correct sit-ups as possible in one minute. In the up position, the candidate should touch elbows to knees and then return until the shoulder blades touch the floor. The score is the total number of correct sit-ups. Any resting must be done in the up position.

Watch the sit-up assessment video.

Push-Up Assessment

This assessment measures muscular endurance of the upper body. The objective of the push-up assessment is to perform as many correct push-ups as possible in 60 seconds. Procedure: The hands are placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart, fingers pointing forward. A partner will place a fist on the floor below the candidate's chest. If a male is assessment a female, a 3 inch sponge block will be placed under the sternum to substitute for the fist. 

Starting from the up position (elbows extended), the candidate must keep the back straight at all times and lower the body to the floor until the chest touches the fist/sponge block. The candidate then returns to the up position. This completes one repetition. Resting is permitted only in the up position. Both hands must remain in contact with the floor at all times. The score is the total number of correct push-ups completed in one minute.

Watch the push-up assessment video.

1.5 Mile Run

The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. The objective of the 1.5 mile run is to cover the distance as fast as possible. The score will be computed based on the time it takes to run 1.5 miles. Procedure: Candidates should not eat a heavy meal or smoke for at least 2 to 3 hours prior to the assessment. 

Candidates should warm up and stretch thoroughly prior to the assessment. The candidate runs the prescribed course as fast as possible. Finish times (score) will be called out and recorded. Upon completion, a mandatory cool down period is enforced which will require candidates to walk slowly for approximately 5 minutes immediately after the run.

Watch the 1.5 mile run video.

Handgun Trigger Pull (Manual Dexterity)

The purpose of this assessment is to measure the muscular strength necessary to pull the trigger on a Department issued handgun. The candidate will pull the trigger on a non-operational (non-firing) service weapon a specified number of times with each hand. Procedure: With the weapon held in the "strong" (dominant) hand and the arm fully extended and parallel to the ground, the candidate will pull the trigger 24 times. 

The hammer must complete a full cycle for each trigger pull. The assessment is then repeated utilizing the "support" (weak) hand. The trigger must be completely pulled 12 times with this hand while the arm is fully extended and parallel to the ground.

Watch the handgun trigger pull video.