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Applicants, employees run physical course of a Hall County deputy
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Kenneth Walker catches his breath during physical assessments on Friday, March 30, at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. Walker was one of 11 potential recruits going through assessments on Friday.

Jump the wall, take down the suspect and slap on the handcuffs.

All in a day’s work, at least for the 11 applicants at Friday’s physical ability assessment at Hall County Sheriff’s Office headquarters.

Sgt. Greg Cochran led the group through the course and assessment that became mandatory for employees in 2015.

“Jailers and deputies — there and above — they’ve got to complete this to keep their assigned duties,” Cochran said.

The sheriff’s office previously held assessments at the Allen Creek Training Center. Applicants and employees now can take the course on the floor above the administrative offices at the Sheriff’s Office’s headquarters.

In addition to treadmill time, the course involves jumping a wall, pushing and pulling a cart of weights, push-ups, planks, a heavy bag drill and then throwing on the handcuffs on a prone dummy.

“A lot of times during struggles and things like that, our suspects do end up on the ground, so we feel it’s more efficient,” Cochran said. “It’s a good way just to check the mobility and dexterity of the participants.”

Esmeralda Martinez of Gainesville lost her footing while running the course but got back up to finish the drill.

Catching her breath, she said she had to “push through it, because I want it.”

“I work out five days a week. I’m really not worried about anything,” UNG criminal justice student Eric Gallardo said when studying the course.

In December, the department completed its two-year “break-in” period of the assessment to get employees up to par. Those who fell short were given exercise programs to reach their goals.

“Depending on how well they’ve done after that period, sometimes we’d put them on a supervised workout program, where they actually met with me or another member from the unit to help them work a little bit more to reach those goals,” Cochran said.

Three of nearly 400 employees tested didn’t complete the standards and were moved to “non-enforcement” positions, which is often clerical work, Cochran said.

Employees will test every year starting again in September.

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