Highway Patrol on recruiting push for cadets to “build tomorrow”

Ohio State Highway Patrol badge on a state trooper. CONTRIBUTED

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Ohio State Highway Patrol badge on a state trooper. CONTRIBUTED

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is boosting its recruiting efforts to get cadets to join the patrol, as like so many employers, the agency is seeing smaller applicant pools. Recruiters say they are looking for people who want to serve as state troopers to “build tomorrow” and help make their communities feel safe.

Recruitment is always an ongoing process for the patrol, said Trooper Jessica McIntyre, the southwest recruiter for OSHP.

“Law enforcement is here to stay; we’re not going anywhere,” McIntyre said. “You always have to have law enforcement because there needs to be order in our area where the public is, and it helps people to feel safe. We are looking for people who want to become state troopers.”

Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 34, have a high school diploma or a GED, be a U.S. citizen and have a valid driver’s license with no more than six points. After applying to be a cadet with the patrol, applicants need to pass a 50-question written exam, a physical examination, a polygraph test, a background check, a drug screening, a committee review, a psychological evaluation and finally, a second physical examination before being admitted to the training academy in Columbus.

“They want to hire significantly more and get more cadets through the classes,” said Lt. Dallas Root, Dayton post commander for the Highway Patrol. “The problem they run into is they just don’t have a large applicant pool like we used to in years past.”

While that mirrors the hiring struggles of many industries in the current economy, Root also said the training is tough, and not everyone completes it.

“The last academy class we just had, they graduated 19. They started with a lot more than that, but it’s not uncommon for us to have attrition because of the difficulty of our academy,” Root said. “We usually lose quite a bit in the first few weeks of the academy, because it’s a very structured military-paramilitary training. Obviously, being a state trooper Is not an easy task. When they graduate, they’ve earned it.”

The training academy program takes 24-26 weeks and allows cadets learn the ropes of the job. McIntyre said cadets are paid $18.66 an hour, with benefits, while in the academy, and after graduation, new trooper pay starts at $55,000 per year. She said despite the challenges of the current economy, OSHP Is optimistic about finding good candidates.

“We train everyone from the ground up,” McIntyre said. “We train (each cadet) on everything they need to be trained on prior to going out onto the road.”

New troopers ride along with a field training officer for three months, then after three more months riding alone, the probation period ends.

“The training our cadets receive sets them up for a successful and rewarding career with the Patrol,” Root said.

Root said in addition to OSHP’s recruitment section, troopers, sergeants and post commanders are also going out to recruiting events “to spread the message about the opportunities we have available.” He said there’s a cadet intern program, plus for those who don’t want to be troopers or go through the academy, OSHP needs dispatchers too, calling that a great way for people to serve their community.

As part of the recruitment push for cadets, QR codes linking to the agency’s recruitment page have been added to the sides of OSHP vehicles. Those interested in learning more can visit the recruitment website at https://statepatrol.ohio.gov/recruit/index.aspx

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