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Despite staffing challenges leaders are raising the bar for Georgian officers

Recruits are also required to pass the physical training
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 28, 2024
  • Georgia ranking bottom in the nation when it comes to officer's pay can make staffing tough especially in rural areas.
  • Friday potential candidates were put to the test to qualify to be accepted into the police academy.
  • Watch the story to here why this physical test ensures safety.


Despite challenges when it comes to staffing officers in Southwest Georgia, leaders in law enforcement tell me they're raising the bar.

"This would have something to do with staffing and the ability for [police] agencies to be able to put people on the road,” said  Jared York, the academy manager for Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

York, talked about a test where candidates must complete an obstacle course in no more than two minutes and six seconds.

"Once they enter into the course they will have to jump over that two foot box, jump over this box and then come up the staircase. Before they go to the low crawl,” according to York. 

Recruits are also required to pass the physical training prior to entering the police academy.

York said this kind of physical training is essential because it simulates real life expectations for local officers.

"Citizens and the general public have an invested interest in the people that are going to be serving as police officers being physically capable enough to do the job,” said York. 

Staffing police officers can be a challenge as reports Georgia officers starting at $40,080 salaries.

But officers in rural areas like South West Georgia are paid at a reduced rate. Due to the size of Decatur County pay rates are deemed higher compared to smaller neighboring counties.

"We have about four openings,” said police chief for Bainbridge Public Safety, Redell Walton. 

Walton said another strain when it comes to staffing is finding people that meet the minimum requirements like having a clean driving record since officers often operate city vehicles.

Walton lists qualities that he looks for when it comes time to expand his department.

"Someone who is even tempered, adaptable and reliable,” said Walton.

York said Georgia's police academy plans to expand required training hours beginning January 2025.