Department  of  Public  Safety officials will welcome 40 cadets to the 60th Oklahoma  Highway Patrol Academy today at  the  Robert Lester Training Center, located at 3600 North Martin Luther King Boulevard in Oklahoma City.


Department  of  Public  Safety officials will welcome 40 cadets to the 60th Oklahoma  Highway Patrol Academy today at  the  Robert Lester Training Center, located at 3600 North Martin Luther King Boulevard in Oklahoma City.

Due  to  state  budget  constraints, this will be the first Trooper academy since  2009,  and Patrol officials have carefully selected what is believed to  be  the  top applicants from a pool of over 600 who started the rigorous  process  almost  one  year ago.  “We have one of the toughest and most  thorough  application  processes in the state, and after seventy-five years  of  dedicated service, I believe our citizens would expect no less,” said  Mike  Thompson,  Commissioner  of  the  Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

A  number of cadets have military backgrounds including service in the U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy, including Guard and Reserve components; and eight cadets  have  previous  law  enforcement  experience,  including a chief of police  from  Stringtown. Other  cadets  come  from  diverse  backgrounds including:  a  dispatcher, truck driver,  high school baseball coach, and a bank president as well as a youth minister, and one resident from the state of   Missouri. The  average  age  is  27, the oldest Cadet is 39, and the youngest is 23.

“While  our  academy  will  focus  on  up-to-date  fundamentals  of traffic enforcement,  we also want our new troopers to be well rounded, and capable of  assisting  fellow  law  enforcement,  and  other public safety agencies throughout  the  state. Our cadets need to be prepared for everything from conducting a traffic stop, to  responding to domestic situations, manhunts, and natural disasters,” said Chief Kerry Pettingill.

Cadets  and  their  family  members  will assemble today for an official welcome  and  introductions to the Highway Patrol and Academy staff.  After family members are dismissed, cadets will begin 20 weeks of training in a  host  of  topics  including:  traffic  and  criminal  law, self-defense, firearms,  emergency  vehicle  operations,  traffic stops, first responder, physical  training,  DUI  &  intoxilizer  operation,  and officer and community relations.

“Our  standards  are very high, and it's my goal to produce the most highly trained,  skilled and professional troopers our agency has developed during it’s seventy five years of existence,” Pettingill said.