FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies were running in circles all week as part of a new agency initiative.
Sheriff Duane Piper has started a physical fitness assessment for his 350 deputies as a way to improve their health.
Sheriff’s Maj. Rick Doyle said Piper has also gone through the assessment, adding “everyone in the agency has to do it to set a baseline.”
“We’re going to work hard over the next several years to increase the physical fitness of our deputies,” Doyle said. “All new recruits must pass the standard as part of hiring ... and for existing employees, we just want to set a benchmark and we want to see improvement each time we do it.”
In addition to running 1.5 miles, deputies must perform other tasks such as a 75-yard obstacle course that includes sit-ups, sprints, push-ups, obstacle jumping and a weighted dummy drag.
Deputy Robin Regan credited Chief Deputy Michael Giordano for creating and leading the healthy initiative. He also said Giordano ran the 1.5 miles with most of the deputy groups during the tests last week.
“He’s a trooper,” Regan said. “He is the one motivating us and leading all of us to get to where the agency needs to be.”
Doyle said the tests will put a focus on health, wellness and fitness, which are agency priorities. The assessment likely will be conducted annually to chart progress, though deputies won’t be disciplined for failing to improve.
“We’re hoping to make this a positive reinforcement type of thing, but something where if you do it, there’s a way we can reward our employees for meeting these standards,” Doyle said.
“We want to be the most professional law agency in Georgia and hopefully in the region in the near future.”