PUEBLO, Colo. — In the midst of staffing shortages, the Pueblo Police Department is hoping to fill some much-needed positions. On Wednesday, more than 40 recruits took part in the Physical Agility Test (PAT), the first step in entering the Pueblo Police Academy.

Throughout the course, recruits are weighed down with more than 20 pounds of gear before sprinting two flights of stairs, climbing a four-foot-wall, and dragging 150 Ibs. Here’s the kicker – all that had to happen in under two minutes and 45 seconds.

Pueblo Police’s parking garage turned into an obstacle course meant to push the limits of future officers.

“We have this process to get the best that we can get,” said Sgt. Frank Ortega.

Recruits put their skills to the test to hopefully one day use what they learn to protect and serve.

“These are very low recruiting numbers, we’re hoping most of them will make it and go through,” Sgt. Ortega said.

FOX21’s Austin Sack suited up to compete and learned first-hand what it takes to pass.

“I’ve just completed the PAT with a time of one minute and 33 seconds, how do I rank up against this year’s recruits Sgt. Ortega?” Sack said.

“Pretty fast, one of the fastest times,” Sgt. Ortega responded.

The agility test is only the beginning of the road.

“Being a police officer has always been hard, but now in 2022, I think it’s probably the hardest it’s ever been,” Sgt. Ortega said. Which is why they prepare recruits both physically and mentally.

“It’s always just been a thought in my mind that you know if you want to see change, be the change,” Damien Carlson, Pueblo recruit said.

That sentiment appeared to be a common theme among this year’s passing recruits.

“Just try to help them make the street a safer place, I mean there’s been so much going on here in Pueblo and I feel like the more people the better,” Mistie Dennis, Pueblo recruit said.

“With that desire, great things happen,” said Sgt. Ortega after watching this year’s passing recruits.

Only 22 recruits passed the physical agility test this year. The next step is a written exam, followed by a background check.