What does it take to protect a community?

Vigo County Sheriff's Deputy recruit applicant

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office conducted the physical fitness phase of testing for new recruits Sunday.

About 160 applicants were on hand at Rose-Hulman hoping to take the step toward a new position.

But what does it take to be in this position in law enforcement?

“When you pick up the phone and dial 911, and you need law enforcement, four out of the 160 people that are here are going to be responding to your door,” said Chief Deputy Clark Cottom, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.

What does it take to be chosen to protect a community?

“You want to make sure that you have somebody good quality and qualified and prepared for the job when they get there,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

“My grandfather retired as a lieutenant from Terre Haute Police Department. It’s pretty much in my blood. I like helping people out. I like this community, so it’s a perfect fit,” said Ryan Hartleroad, deputy applicant.

The sheriff’s office held the physical testing phase for new deputies.

The four new positions open at the department require a certain amount of stamina.

Every applicant hoping to be hired as an Indiana police officer has to meet certain physical standards.

“They do that to keep officers safe,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

Officials want applicants fully prepared for the challenges they’ll face as a deputy.

“The officers are going to run across a wide variety of individuals out there throughout their career. Individuals that are of different size and stature and strength. Also, individuals that are under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs. They are willing to hurt a law enforcement officer to escape,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

But it’s more than physical.

“That are mentally prepared, physically prepared, and they know what they’re getting themselves into,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

Not everyone is cut out to work in law enforcement.

“It’s a really different type job. We want to make sure we screen people and hire people that are prepared for the profession,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

Ryan agrees, but as a new recruit, he thinks he has what it takes.

“I have good communication skills. I’m strict, but fair,” said Ryan.

It’s a long, rigorous process to be hired by the department but there’s good reason for that.

“We want to make sure we’re hiring good, quality people that want to stick with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department,” said Chief Deputy Cottom.

And Ryan’s ready for the next step to getting that deputy badge.

“Glad I passed. Feels good, relieved,” said Ryan.

About 30 percent of the applicants were weeded out Sunday in this phase of physical fitness.

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