Police Officers Physical Abilities Test (POPAT)
Because the test is designed to demonstrate whether a candidate has the minimum ability to perform the physical duties associated with policing, POPAT is not measured based on age or gender. Every participant must perform the test within the defined protocol in a maximum time of 4 minutes and 15 seconds. They must then carry a 100-pound (45 kg) weight a distance of 50 feet (15.24 meters).
Below is a video from the Saskatoon Police Department demonstrating POPTAT stations.
The POPAT Stations
- Station 1: 400 Meter Mobility / Agility Run
- Station 2: Push and Pull Machine
- Station 3: Modified Squat Thrust and Sit-Up Rail Vault Station
- Station 4: Weight Carry
Station 1- 400 meter Mobility / Agility Run
The agility run involves six laps of a circuit incorporating changes of direction, jumping a mat, jumping over hurdles, and climbing stairs. Twenty seconds per lap equals an eight – minute mile pace. After each lap, the test administrator will advise the candidate of the number of the lap and the time. The candidate must successfully complete six laps of this course before Station 2.
When jumping the mat, candidates must clearly jump the mat or they must redo the jump before going onto the stairs. If a candidate fails to jump the six-foot mat three times consecutively, this constitutes a failure of the test.
When ascending and descending the stairs, the candidate must land on at least one step in addition to the top step. They are not allowed to jump from the top step to the floor as injuries most often occur during the stair portion of the run.
During the hurdling portion, if a stick is knocked off, it must be replaced and both sticks must be jumped before moving on to complete the course. All markers (cones) that are displaced must also be replaced before continuing the test.
Station 2- Push and Pull Station
This station is done immediately after the Mobility – Agility Run. The Pull portion must be done before the Push.
The candidate pulls a 36 kg (80 lbs.) weight off its resting position and then moves through a controlled 180-degree arc. The candidate must move through the arc six (6) times, touching a line on each side three times in alternate succession. If the candidate allows the weight to touch down while performing this activity, they must start that portion again. For example, if, the weight touches its resting point while the candidate is moving through the third arc, the next line touch would again be number “one.” The activity must be completed without the weight touching the resting point.
The candidate’s arms must not be allowed to straighten and the candidate’s body must be kept in a balanced position, otherwise the demonstration of required shoulder girdle and elbow flexor strength is lost. The candidate will be given three verbal warnings to correct arm and / or balance positions. If the positions are not corrected, the test is stopped and they will be deemed to have failed the test.
Following the last line touch, the weight is allowed to drop to the resting position and the candidate adopts the pushing position on the machine.
The candidate then pushes the 36 kg (80 lbs.) weight off its resting point and moves though a 180-degree arc. As in the pulling station, six (6) arcs must be completed with the weight being held off its rest. After the sixth line touch, the weight is returned to its rest and the candidate will then move quickly to Station 3.
During the “Push,” the back must be straight and the arms must be bent and positioned to keep distance between the chest and the machine during the performance of this activity. No portion of the body can touch the machine except the hands. This ensures the demonstration of necessary shoulder girdle and arm strength. Again, the body must be kept in a balanced position. The same warning protocol as the “Pull” portion applies.
Station 3- Modified Squat Thrust and Stand with Rail Vault
This involves a 91 cm (3 foot) high rail that is surrounded by floor mats. The candidate will first be required to squat down and thrust their feet out behind, using their hands on the mat for support. After touching their chin and chest to the mat, they will return to a standing position and vault over the rail with their hands being the only body part allowed to touch the rail. Landing in a standing position, they will complete a reverse squat thrust and stand. This involves sitting down on the mat and lying back so the shoulder blades touch the mat. After their shoulder blades have touched the mat, they are required to regain the standing position without rolling to the side or touching the rail. Then they vault over the rail using only the hands to touch the trail and land in the standing position. This activity is continued until 10 squat thrusts have been completed (5 to the front, 5 to the back).
Should an error be made while performing Station 3, the specific activity where the error occurred must be repeated until performed correctly. Errors include:
- Placing the hands on the vault bar to pull up from the squat position,
- Placing the foot on or touching the rail with parts of the body other than the hands,
- Falling to the side when returning to the standing position, and
- Failing to touch the chin and chest or shoulder blades to the mat.
Again, three verbal warnings to correct improper protocol will result in disqualification. After completing Station 3, the timer will be stopped and the candidate’s time and heart rate will be recorded.
Station 4- Weight Carry - 45 kg (100 lbs.)
The candidate is required to begin the weight carry within 30 seconds of the completion of Station 3 and the recording of their heart rate. This involves picking up a 45 kg (100 lbs) torso sack in a safe manner using both hands. Once the sack is off the ground it may be carried with the arms and must be in front of the body. The candidate will carry the sack a distance of 50 feet (15 meters) and then carefully place the sack on the floor in a controlled manner.
The torso sack must be lifted and then carried in front of the body with both hands and / or arms, in order to demonstrate handgrip, elbow flexor, back, and leg muscular strength and endurance. The torso sack must not be carried on the hip or shoulder. The material of the sack must be gripped with the hands to initiate the lift and carry. This will demonstrate handgrip strength. Scooping the weight off the floor with the arms is a generally unsafe lift and is not allowed. If this type of lift is attempted, the candidate will be stopped and encouraged to perform the lift properly.
If the candidate is unable to lift and carry the weighted torso sack, they will be deemed to have failed the test.
This is a heavy weight for most persons and thus the risk of injury is high, particularly if a poor lifting technique is used. It is important to keep the back straight, secure the weight, and lift with the legs.
Pass / Fail Criteria
The maximum time allowed is 4 minutes and 15 seconds for all participants.