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Phoenix Police Applicants Take Written Exam, Physical Test

phoenix police hiring
(Photo by Jimmy Jenkins/KJZZ News)
Phoenix Police applicants complete a physical agility test.

After a 5 year hiring freeze, the Phoenix Police Department has announced it will hire 300 new officers over the next three years. Applicants took the first steps toward becoming officers this weekend.

About 270 applicants showed up in Downtown Phoenix Friday night to take a written entrance exam.

Assistant Chief Chuck Miiller called it an exciting night for the Phoenix Police Department.

“You’re really looking at the next legacy of law enforcement police officers and so I mean you’re looking at the next leaders, sergeants, detectives," Miiller said.

The written test is the first step in a long vetting process. Applicants that pass will move on to a physical test.

Charl Koozer said law enforcement runs in his family. His father was a police Segeant in Mesa. He said he started preparing as soon as he heard about the new openings.

“I’ve been running for months (laughs) and just studying a lot – doing a lot of interview stuff with my dad – just going over things that we’re going to have to be interviewed on and tested on,” Koozer said.

Koozer passed the written test and was one of the first recruits to show up for physical trials just after dawn Saturday morning. I caught up with him after he finished running a mile and a half.

“I feel it’s actually testing every aspect of things we’re actually going to be using in the field so I think it’s very legitimate,” Koozer said.

Other tests include pushups, sit-ups, a wall climb and an agility course.

Detective Karl Martin says it’s about making sure recruits can handle the rigors of police work.

“Getting out of your vehicle, chasing after somebody, jumping over walls, running around obstacles, this is real life techniques,” Martin said.    

Those that perform the best on the physical challenges will face a polygraph, a psychological and medical exam and a drug test.

The department expects about 10 percent of all applicants will be invited to join the next class at the Police Academy starting in the Spring of 2015.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.