JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Highway Patrol is working to fill the trooper shortage in the state with a new round of cadets in training.
It has been some long days and intense training for the new recruits of Cadet Class 64.
“The training is 22 weeks. The first phase of training is physical and mental conditioning and then we transition into defense tactics and they train in over 1,200 hours during the 22 weeks at the Academy,” said Captain John Perkins, Director of MHP training.
The Trooper School began Sunday, December 1, and while some cadets have been able to survive the yelling, constant orders and grueling tasks, a few dropped out in the first days of training.
“We have 54 cadets sign in and we’re currently at 44 cadets. It is really difficult and demanding, our dropout rate is usually 50-perfect when we start class. They have to be conditioned and they have to be able to operate under extreme stress emotionally and mentally and sometimes physically,” said Perkins.
The MHP staff admits this rigorous training is not for everyone, but the ones who do make it learn survival skills and what it takes to be a qualified trooper.
“Law enforcement has changed in the last ten years, therefore officers have to be proficient in a lot of different areas. This 20-week-long process provides the training they will need to effectively do their jobs and to return home safely at the end of the shift,” said Captain Johnny Poulos.
MHP also hopes the more cadets trained will fill the gap for troopers in the state.
“We only have 510 sworn officers and we are authorized to 616. It’s important because obviously the more officers we have on the road the better services we can provide. We will never lower our standers or sacrifice the quality of our training to obtain numbers. We are going to stick to what we do and we are going make sure the best qualified people where this uniform,” said Perkins.