51st OHP Academy

[Pictures: Arrival/ Registration/ Orientation]

The Department of Public Safety will welcome 77 cadets to the 51st Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy at 1 P.M. on Tuesday, March 30 at the Robert R. Lester Training Center, 3600 North Martin Luther King Boulevard in Oklahoma City.

Colonel Gary Adams, Chief of the Highway Patrol, said that being accepted to the program is not as easy as it may seem. "We have one of the toughest application processes in the state, and it was extremely difficult to select the final 77 applicants," said Adams. "There's no doubt we have strict standards, but it shows us the depth of the individual's perseverance. That's what we like to see in the Highway Patrol, tough standards. We have applicants representing e very walk of life from teachers to farm hands to marines."

Adams said they continue to encourage anyone who has interest in applying to the highway patrol to begin the process now for the next academy.

DPS implemented new qualifications for the 51st academy. The minimum age requirement was lowered from 23 to 21; college requirements were increased from 30 hours to an associate's degree or 62 hours; and the former requirement of residence in Oklahoma has been changed to citizenship of the United States.

The application process takes six to eight months to complete. Once applicants successfully complete certain portions of the process, they are invited to attend a mini-academy.

"The last two years, applicants have been offered the opportunity to attend one of the three weekend mini-academies," said First Lieutenant John Matlock, troop commander. "They report to the training center on Friday evening, and regular academy rules apply."

The applicants participate in physical training, inspections, drill and ceremony, and various instruction on rules and OHP procedures. The program gives applicants an opportunity to experience firsthand the OHP academy.

Successful applicants are notified upon acceptance. They and their family members will assemble for an official welcome and introductions of the OHP and academy staffs tomorrow. The families will say their good-byes and the cadets will begin training.

The cadets become temporary residents of the training center for the 18-week academy that includes training in traffic and criminal law, self-defense, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, traffic contact, first responder, physical training, breathalyzer and officer relations.