56th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy Begins

On May 31, 2006, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety will welcome the newest members to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy. Sixty-one cadets will report today to the Robert Lester Training Center for registration. "It is always an exciting time to see people from all walks of life take their first steps to becoming a State Trooper," said Captain Gary Vinson, Commandant of the Academy.

Approximately eight months ago, 848 applicants began the hiring process. During this process each was required to pass physical examinations, a written exam, 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. "This is bittersweet because this will be the final academy I will be a part of during my career in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol."

These 56th Academy cadets have received their assignments and will report for duty upon graduation.

No females will be in this year's academy; those who 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. "We do not require applicants to have prior law enforcement experience," said Vinson. "We structure our academy so we can produce the best trained law enforcement professional, regardless of their professional backgrounds."

OHP's academy is 16 weeks long and has a military structure. The cadets will live at the Robert Lester Training Center throughout the duration of 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 quality Troopers we graduate from our academies," said Vinson. "We have a long history of professionalism behind us and that is what we intend to give the State of Oklahoma."

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