The Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department at SUNY Broome is always looking for creative ways to expose their students to hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. A recent example of the department’s efforts to promote career readiness skills for professions in public service was the 2022 Hornets Challenge. 

The 2022 Hornets Challenge was a joint effort hosted by the Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department, the Physical Education & Sport Studies Department, and the Broome County Sheriff’s Department and served to expose SUNY Broome students to the requirements to pass the New York State Physical Ability Test. Passing this test is a prerequisite for anyone interested in pursuing careers as Deputy Sheriffs, Police Officers, and Correction Officers. 

The New York State Physical Ability Test follows the NYS Cooper Standards and consists of a combination of timed sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5 mile run. Specific requirements are adapted based on age and gender. Candidates must successfully complete each component of the test in order to proceed to the next required activity. Candidates who fail to complete a portion of the test are not permitted to retake it, so solid preparation and conditioning are vital to a successful completion. 

“The main goal of today’s event is to get our students acquainted with the Physical Ability Test and to give them an opportunity to gauge their personal physical ability level in a helpful, fun, and educational format. For students interested in going into law enforcement, knowing where you stand physically in respect to the ability test is critical in preventing a failure during the official exam,” shared Kerry Weber, Chairperson of Criminal Justice & Emergency Services.

Sgt. Sammy Davis, Director of Training for the Broome County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Academy, served as the main instructor for the exercise, which included all of the regional law enforcement recruits who used this training as additional practice. Each required activity was first demonstrated by a recruit from the Academy. After the demonstration of the necessary technique for each skill, the recruits and students engaged in the timed test. The Broome County Law Enforcement Academy supplies forty agencies with trained, law enforcement professionals. 

SUNY Broome’s Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department has connections to most of the region’s law enforcement agencies. As a result, members of several local departments sent representatives to offer assistance and encouragement throughout the exercise. 

Nick Brey, Director of Campus Safety & Security at SUNY Broome, attended the event to show his support for the recruits and the SUNY Broome students. “The NYS Cooper Standards are definitely taxing both physically and mentally. You need to be aware of pacing, monitor your stamina, and maintain your nerves to complete the requirements,” said Brey. 


The second phase of the Hornets Challenge included mastering the obstacles on the Collaborative Confidence Course. Engaging in the physical activities included in the Confidence Course served to help the students and recruits enhance their endurance and strength in preparation for future physical ability tests. Faculty and staff from across campus opted to join in on the fun and participated alongside the students and recruits. 

The Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department hosts several events like the Hornets Challenge per academic year including specialty speakers, professional networking events, and the Mock Disaster.  

Learn more about the Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department and their programs. 

Check out photos from the Hornets Challenge! 

Hornet Challenge