Officers put their fitness to the test

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RAPID CITY, SD (KELO) – Pennington County Sheriff’s Office staff and potential recruits are putting their fitness to the test today.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office requires a physical fitness obstacle course, the department believes this type of training is essential.

“One of the correctional officers told us that on an average day they take about 20,000 steps of work. Part of this has to do with the facility we manage. So they’re actively moving around, they’re not sitting at a desk or behind a wall,” said training manager Tony Verchio.

The new obstacle course is based on situations that agents might face in real life.

For juvenile corrections officers Irene Medina and Jacob Person, they often find themselves climbing a lot of stairs and patrolling.

“I feel like the stairs help a lot. Especially because we go up and down them every ten minutes to check inmates, so that was very helpful,” said Irene Medina, juvenile corrections officer.

“I think it was good. The stairs definitely got my heart rate up, but the other things weren’t too difficult. The stairs were the hardest part,” said Jacob Person, juvenile corrections officer.

Training director Tony Verchio says not only is training important for the job, but also for the mental health of officers.

“We would like to encourage the continued fitness of our correctional staff. We know that in all areas of first responder careers there is a lot of stress that builds up. Exercising is one of the ways to help deal with this stress,” Verchio said.

People who participate in physical training have 5 minutes to complete the obstacle course – any longer and they fail this part of the test.

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