OKLAHOMA CITY - Sixty-one cadets reported Wednesday to the Robert Lester Training Center in Oklahoma City to begin the 56th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy. The cadets have received their assignments and will report for duty upon graduation from the 16 weeks of military structure training.

Approximately eight months ago, 848 applicants began the hiring process, which included physical and written exams, oral interviews and an extensive background check. “It’s great to see there are still young people who step up and face challenges that law enforcement will present to them and their willingness to serve their state and communities,” said Colonel Jerry Cason, Chief of the Highway Patrol.

The cadets will live at the training center learning criminal law, firearms, self-defense, pursuit driving, investigations, and many other aspects of law enforcement. No women will be in this year’s academy. All women that applied and tested failed the physical agility test or removed themselves from the hiring process.

These cadets come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, ranging from prior law enforcement, aircraft mechanic, teacher, fireman, groundskeeper, and coach. Captain Gary Vinson, Commandant of the Academy said “It is always an exciting time to see people from all walks of life take their first steps to becoming a State Trooper. We do not require applicants to have prior law enforcement experience. We structure our academy so we can produce the best trained law enforcement professional, regardless of their professional backgrounds. We have a long history of professionalism behind us and that is what we intend to give to the State of Oklahoma,” he said.

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