55TH OHP Academy Begins

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will be welcoming its newest members to the 55th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy, August 31, at 9:00 a.m. Sixty-five cadets will report to the Robert R. Lester Training Center for registration. "It's always an exciting time to see people from all walks of life take their first steps to becoming a State Trooper," said Second Lieutenant Gary Vinson, Commandant of the academy.

Applicants have undergone a lengthy process which takes several months to complete. Over 800 applicants began the process a nd were required to pass physical examinations, a written exam, oral interviews, and an extensive background check. "This is a great group of cadets we are welcoming this year," said Colonel Gary Adams, Chief of the Highway Patrol. "It was a true blessing to see the caliber of people who made it to the final interview," Chief Adams stated. "The applicants that were chosen from the final interview displayed the integrity and the character we are looking for in our trainees."

It has been three years since the 54th graduated in 2002. The 55th academy will be an academy of many firsts. "This is the first academy to receive their assignments prior to the report date and it's also the first academy to have cadets over the age of 37," said Lieutenant Vinson. "Raising the age limit to 42 allows us to recruit viable candidates such as those who are retiring from the U.S. Military and we have three cadets in this academy over the age of 40."

No females will be in this year's academy, those who applied and tested, failed the physical agility test.

The cadet's come from a variety of professions ranging from medic, pastor, commercial airline pilot, military to sushi chef, fireman and youth counselor. "A cadet does not have to have law enforcement experience," said Vinson. "The academy is structured to produce the best trained law enforcement professional regardless of their background."

OHP's academy is 16 weeks long and has a military type structure. The cadets will live at the Robert R. Lester Training Center throughout the academy. They will learn criminal law, firearms, self defense, pursuit driving, investigations, and many other aspects of law enforcement. "We take pride in the caliber of law enforcement professionals we produce, "Vinson said. "The State of Oklahoma deserves the best we can give them and that is always our goal."

OHP is currently recruiting for the 56th academy which will begin May 31, 2006. The Highway Patrol will be losing 119 members due to retirement the end of June, 2007. "I am included in that number and this is a great opportunity for anyone pursuing a career with the Highway Patrol," Chief Adams stated. Chief Adams encourages those interested in submitting an application with the Highway Patrol to contact the recruiting division at 1-866-659-9021 or visit at the Department of Public Safety website for a downloadable application.

The cadets will report at 9:00am for registration at the Robert R. Lester Training Center, 3600 North Martin Luther King Blvd., Oklahoma City. Media are invited to conduct interviews.