RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

Nearly 90 percent of sworn deputies with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department are men. But the agency wants that to change, and Saturday it hosted a Fitness Challenge at Rancho Mirage High School to recruit women over 18 to join its force.

"Women need to know that this job is an opportunity for them to do so much in life, to help their community and to provide for their family," said Lt. Cheryl Evans.

But before you can become a deputy sheriff or correctional officer trainee, you have to pass this challenge:
    
"It's 22 push-ups and 27 sit-ups and run a mile and a half in 14 minutes or less, that's it," Evans said.

Sounds easy, but those push-ups and sit-ups must be done in less than a minute.

"The most difficult was the push-ups and I finished so it's good," said Codi Greene, who came to the Fitness Challenge from Los Angeles.

Of the 95 women who attended, just 29 passed. Greene is one of them and hopes to eventually work her way into forensics.

"I think women should be in law enforcement. Being a career that's dominated by men, it's cool to see this many women interested in it," she said.

The Special Enforcement Bureau of the Sheriff's Department is also recruiting, which includes the SWAT Team. And because of the department's size and scope, there's more room to enter one of these specialized bureaus. 

"A lot more room for growth, a lot more room for flexibility. Certain police departments are limited in size and limited in their promotions and abilities for special assignments," said Deputy Andrew Sullivan of the SWAT Team.

Still, less than one percent of those who apply are actually hired.  Besides the physical challenge, deputies must pass rigorous background checks and other testing.