Youth not enough for reporter to make WSP

ckrotzer@theolympian.comFebruary 17, 2013 

I don’t have what it takes to become a Washington State Patrol trooper, but that’s OK. According to Trooper Guy Gill, 97.5 percent of those who try don’t have what it takes, either.

I gave the physical test a go during Phase One testing at the General Administration building Feb. 9, only to discover that when it comes to situps, 60 percent of the population has stronger abdominal muscles than I do.

The WSP requires applicants to finish timed situps, pushups and a 1.5-mile run in the 40th percentile of the Cooper Institute Physical Fitness Test and Norms for Law Enforcement. For me, that meant 15 pushups and 32 situps in 60 seconds, plus a 1.5-mile run in under 15:05 minutes.

Surpassing the required pushups and the run wasn’t the problem. It was those darn situps.

I hit the wall with five seconds left and two of my required 32 situps to go. My muscles were shaking and my face burning red as troopers and cadet candidates shouted me on.

“Come on, push it through” was all I could hear. Despite my weakened attempts, I could not bring myself back up.

Time ran out. Even though I was not a true applicant, I found myself mentally joining the other 25 candidates who failed. Many of them were in their early- to mid-20s, like me. They probably also, like me, did not train, assuming youth would be on their side.

It’s an assumption that many incoming applicants fall victim to.

“This is a physical job and we want our applicants to be ready,” Gill said. “Those who have not taken the time to train and prepare for the testing won’t be successful.”

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 @chelseakrotzer

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