News 12 at 6 O'clock / Monday, March 10, 2014
Augusta, Ga. (WRDW) -- "Staying in shape is what's going to keep you alive," said Deputy, Mike Swint.
In Swint's line of work, he knew, getting in shape was the only way he could survive.
"Started in 2003, I was about 130 pounds," he said. "I worked in the jail for a year and dealing with the inmates in the jail, I realized I needed to start working out."
In 2014, this deputy is lifting three times what he weighed when he started at the jail.
"When you get out of that car and someone sees that you're in shape, they're less likely to try to run, the less likely to try to fight you," he said.
But he's still gets a run for his money.
"The gear, your gun belt weighs at least 25 to 30 pounds, your vest is another five pounds," he said.
When Sheriff Richard Roundtree took office, he made a promise, to get his agency in shape.
"We realize that most of us came into the job in shape, then over a period of time, we'd get out of shape," said Lt. Bill Probus with the Richmond County Sheriffs Office.
It's even a new program for its instructor Probus wasn't even a deputy 15 years ago, the last time it was in place.
And today, 75 percent of deputies have already passed the minimum standard.
"It's the beginning phase in a three year ramp in period," said Probus.
The first year tests where deputies are. The second and third focuses on getting them to where they need to be.
Those foot chases you see on COPS, are real..
"We have those moments more often than people realize," said Probus.
The pin downs are real too.
"To do this job and to do it well, you've got to be physically fit," he said.
Swint says, "For a deputy to be in shape, not only is it important for their safety but they'll be your backup one day."
And the deputy could be protecting you one day, when crime comes or goes.