After 22 weeks of training, 39 cadets at the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy graduated to the applause of family and friends on Thursday.
The agency planned to hire around 300 troopers in the next few months. The manpower shortage stemmed from a statewide hiring freeze a few years ago, plus an increasing number of troopers who are retiring.
"We're averaging about five per month, so we have lost our, what we need to keep the roadways safe,” said Vincent Shirey, a full-time recruiter for the Ohio Highway Patrol. “We need to hire these troopers in the next few months.”
Another class of 128 cadets starts in two weeks and a third is scheduled for November. A fourth class will be held early next year.
Shirey said that because they want troopers to resemble the population of Ohio, they are especially seeking women and minorities.
"We have the issue of having 12 to one white males, as opposed to the minorities that we need," Shirey said.
Shirley said that recruiters encourage troopers to get involved in the recruiting process, too.
"They need to be filtering potential applicants as they're stopping vehicles or out in the public," Shirley said.
A job as a trooper was not a tough sell for Cadet David Brown, who said the uniform and cruiser caught his eye as child.
"As a kid you look at that and go, 'Wow, I want to be like that someday,’" Brown said.
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