By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

The cold, rainy weather did not deter dozens of SUNY Broome’s students, faculty, and staff from pushing their physical and mental endurance to the max at the 2024 Hornets Challenge. For over five years, SUNY Broome’s Criminal Justice & Emergency Services Department, the Physical Education & Sport Studies Department, and the Broome County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Academy have come together to expose students to the physical 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. 

Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

SUNY Broome students got a glimpse of the physicality associated with careers in criminal justice and emergency services by tackling the Collaborative Confidence Course and completing a portion of the NYS Cooper Standards.

Associate Professor/Chairperson for Criminal Justice & Emergency Services, Leigh T. Martindale, not only coordinated the challenge, but actively participated. “I always tell my students that if I can do it, they can do it too,” said Martindale. “While a big part of today’s event is about exploring personal physical abilities in a fun format, it’s also about building relationships with partners like our neighbors at the Broome County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Academy. Fostering relationships and supporting community engagement are huge parts of modern policing.”  

SUNY Broome alum Jacob Waibel first completed the Hornets Challenge in 2023 as a student, and now is supporting the event as a recruit. Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

SUNY Broome students completed each portion of the challenge with the encouragement and guidance of recruits from the 2024 Broome County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Academy. For SUNY Broome alum and current Academy recruit Jacob Waibel, the Hornets Challenge was a full-circle event. 

“Last year, I ran in the Hornets Challenge as a SUNY Broome student. I used my time with the recruits to ask them questions about the Academy and about the standards and tests that I would eventually have to complete. Talking with the recruits was really helpful.” Waibel shared. “This year, I am participating as a recruit and am happy to share what I know with any student who may have questions like I did.”

Dr. Lee Heron completed the Confidence Course alongside two recruits from the Academy. Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

Dozens of students, faculty, and staff from across campus participated in the Hornets Challenge, including representatives from the Business Club and members of the Backpacking (PED 103) class.  

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

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