HILLSIDE DISTRICT -- She was hunched over, with her hands on her
knees, trying to catch her breath in the 80-degree weather.
Burbank police recruit Mary Eltz had just successfully completed the
department’s physical agility test, and it was hard to tell if she was
deliriously happy or stillsuffering from a lack of oxygen.
“Thank God I’ll never have to do that again,” Eltz said.
Eltz, 28, completed the course in 111 seconds, beating the times of
many of her male counterparts.
She was one of 33 people who took the test in June. Six were lateral
recruits from other departments, and four were women. Unlike Eltz, nine
people failed to complete the test in under two minutes, a total of 120
The course was designed to simulate an actual police pursuit and weed
out those who are not fit enough to perform the physical requirements of
the job, said Burbank Police Det. Rich Bison.
“If you can’t handle this, you can’t handle the job,” Bison said.
The physical agility test is the second step in the application
process, following a written test and preceding an oral interview,
background check and physical and mental examinations. More than 50
people signed up for the written test, said Burbank Police Det. Frank
Turner. The number of eligible recruits has been cut in half after only
the second step in the process.
“We’ll be lucky to fill the four vacancies that we have,” Turner said.
“There aren’t that many people who want to work in law enforcement
Burbank Police Chief Tom Hoefel said the department is getting more
creative in its recruitment efforts. A slide will soon be running at the
AMC Theatres advertising a career in law enforcement with the Burbank
Police, he said.
Personal recruiting efforts also don’t hurt, he said.
“It is not unusual for me, when I’m in a restaurant, to ask the waiter
if he’s ever considered a career in law enforcement,” Hoefel said.
Recruits must finish the following in the Burbank Police Department
physical agility test course in two minutes, or less, to pass.
1. Scale a 6-foot-tall wall.
2. Cross a 10-foot-long balance beam.
3. Run up and down a flight of stairs.
4. Jump across a ditch, then back across.
5. Run through uneven railroad tracks.
6. Crawl under a bar.
7. Drag a 165-pound dummy.
8. Hurdle a small wall.
9. Sprint 25 yards.
10. Apply 70 pounds of pressure with each hand to simulate applying