Lancaster Police Department

405 E. Arch Street, Lancaster, SC

803/283-1173   FAX 803/286-4632

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Physical Abilities Test







Physical fitness is of the utmost importance at the Lancaster Police Department.  The Department recognizes the importance of physical fitness for success at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and in job performance.   Being physically fit is an essential part of the day-to-day operations of a police officer.  Law Enforcement work has been compared to military experience as "hours of mind numbing boredom punctuated by brief periods of intense, unpredictable, life-threatening action."


If you are appointed as a police officer you will be required to handle a variety of situations involving physically challenging tasks, which could include defending yourself or others against attack. It is essential therefore that you possess a standard of physical fitness, which allows you to perform these tasks professionally, and without the risk of injury, when the need arises. To do this you will need a reasonable level of strength, agility and stamina.


All candidates for police officer MUST successfully pass the Physical Abilities Test before they can advance in the hiring process.  Once employed, the officer will have to successfully pass this same test at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in order to obtain law enforcement certification.  After successful completion of the Academy, all sworn officers of the Lancaster Police Department MUST successfully pass this same test biannually. 


Course Description

  • The course measures a total of 870 feet (290 yards/265.2 meters).
  • The course consists of a series of nine interspersed individual tasks, arranged in a continuous format that may be viewed as being essential (physical) job-tasks for law enforcement training:
  1. running;
  2. jumping (low hurdle);
  3. climbing stairs;
  4. low crawling;
  5. jumping (broad-type);
  6. climbing a fence (chain-link/four feet);
  7. climbing through a window;
  8. moving/dragging a weight (150 pounds);
  9. changing direction on the run.
  • The officer starts the course at a point, indicated in green on the course map.
  • The officer runs one and laps around the perimeter of the course and enters the interior of the course at the point indicated in blue on the course map.
  • The first obstacle encountered in the interior consists of two low hurdles, one and a half feet high and four feet long, placed 13 feet apart.
  • After clearing the hurdles, stairs (five steps up to a 32-inch wide landing, 45 inches above the floor, and five steps down) must be negotiated twice (note that each step has a 7.5 inch rise and tread that is 11 inches wide)
  • Once the stair event is completed another low hurdle must be cleared; the trainee must then successfully negotiate a low crawl under an obstacle set at 2 feet above the floor.
  • Make a turn and clear a ditch simulation that is six feet in width.
  • After another turn, a chain-link fence (four feet in height) must be climbed,
  • Two additional turns made, and a four-foot high window (opening is 3' wide x 4.5' high) must be successfully entered.
  • The officer must then drag a 150-pound dead weight a distance of 20 feet.
  • After the weight drag, the officer exits the course, completes one final lap around the perimeter and finishes at the point indicated in red on the course map.