RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Staff and prospective hires at the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office are putting their physical fitness to the test today.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office requires a physical fitness obstacle course, the department believes this kind of training is vital.

“One of the correctional officers told us that in an average day, they get about 20-thousand steps in working. Part of that has to do with the facility that we run. So they are actively out moving around, they aren’t sitting at a desk or behind a wall,” Tony Verchio, Training Manager, said.

The new obstacle course is based on situations officers could face in real-life.

For Juvenile Correctional officers Irene Medina and Jacob Person, they often find themselves climbing a lot of stairs and patrolling.

“I feel like the stairs help out a lot. Especially because we go up and down them every ten minutes checking on detainees, so it was very helpful,” Irene Medina, Juvenile Correctional Officer, said.

“I think it was good. The stairs definitely got my heart rate up but the other things weren’t too hard. The stairs were the hardest part,” Jacob Person, Juvenile Correctional Officer, said.

Training Manager, Tony Verchio, says not only is the training important for the job, but also for officers’ mental health.

“We’d like to encourage ongoing fitness with our correctional staff. We know that all first-responder career fields, there is a lot of stress that builds up. One of the ways to help deal with that stress is through physical exercise,” Verchio said.

The people taking part in the physical fitness training have 5 minutes to finish the obstacle course — any longer and they fail that part of the test.