The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has extended the opening date for the 66th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy. Originally scheduled to begin in late November, the start date will be Friday, February 28, 2020. This early spring commencement holds to Patrol tradition, and allows the Department to maximize financial resources available to use toward training. Cadets will now be able to focus on loved ones during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and then join an even larger group of fellow recruits to form a lifelong bond exclusively shared by an Academy class.

Candidates who have already successfully moved through the initial phases of the recruitment process will continue, and they will still be competing against the same candidate pool previously identified. However, current candidates will be now presented with the option of selecting up to three troop residency preferences to submit for consideration by the Patrol.  If selected for participation in the Academy, a Residency Commitment Contract for a position in the candidate’s highest ranking available troop location will be extended at the time the Patrol delivers its invitation to become a cadet. Residency contracts guarantee cadets can return home and serve their community when they graduate from the OHP Academy.

Current candidates will continue through the process while applications are opened for the further slots in the 66th made possible by the additional funding. The funding leverages the appropriation granted by the Oklahoma legislature during the most recent legislative session combined with monies pledged by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. OTA has sponsored previous OHP Academy classes to support the Patrol’s efforts to address its critical shortage of manpower.

The extended application period will begin Wednesday, July 24, 2019, and will run through Saturday, August 31, 2019. It will be marked by aggressive recruitment efforts including regional testing to take place throughout the state, beginning in the Clinton/Weatherford area in mid-August. The exact dates for regional testing will be published tomorrow, July 23rd. Candidates living outside the Oklahoma City metropolitan area will be offered the option to test in several locations throughout the state when contacted by the Patrol upon application. Those individuals who applied in the prior open application period for the 66th are encouraged to contact the Department at 405-425-7000 to establish eligibility to reapply.

Colonel Michael S. Harrell, Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, states, “This expanded cadet class heralds an unparalleled opportunity for the future of the Department. I will be personally engaged in this process every step of the way, and this administration is excited about using the solid tradition of integrity, self-discipline, and unwavering professionalism of the Patrol as a springboard for innovative ways to find the best young men and women in Oklahoma to represent those values.”

“Assistant Commissioner Megan L. Simpson, Chief Harrell and I, Command and Training staff, along with all of the Patrol and DPS personnel are looking forward to the energy and excitement an Academy brings to our campus,” says Commissioner Rusty Rhoades. “This administration is grateful to Governor Stitt, Secretary Keating, and the leadership of the Oklahoma House and Senate for their foresight and support. Without the current mindset of the executive branch and the state legislature, we would not be able to offer this opportunity to up to 80 candidates to train with our nationally recognized law enforcement expert members. Along with all of our Department co-workers, we look forward to welcoming the 66th to the Oklahoma City campus in February.”

Anyone who has questions regarding the application process, including current candidates, may contact the Department at 405-425-7000, visit the Oklahoma Highway Patrol on social media, or come by the Department of Public Safety Complex located at 3600 North Martin Luther King Avenue, Oklahoma City, and stop by the Robert R. Lester Training Center for more information.