Help is on the way for the Mississippi Highway Patrol as trooper school graduation is on the horizon.
The latest class of troopers consists of 57 cadets who are set to graduate on March 6th, and Captain Johnny Poulos says that the boost in manpower is welcomed.
“We’ve been dealing with manpower issues as far as coverage goes for a couple of years,” he said. “This is going to greatly affect our coverage area, and being able to provide support to local law enforcement. Our response time to crashes will be a lot better. We’ve had troopers having to cover two counties by themselves. When you have a crash, and that trooper has to drive across two counties, you’ve got someone waiting at a crash scene for a considerable amount of time and traffic building up.”
Poulos says that the quicker response times could help save lives. He went on to say that the increased presence with a new class of officers will hopefully encourage motorists to drive more carefully.
“Visibility is everything. We’re hoping that with these new troopers that will be seen on highways, and people will realize ‘I need to slow down’ and ‘my main mission should be to make it home safe’. We always say, it’s not a game to see how many citations we can write, it’s all about how many lives we can save.” Poulos said.
Also in light of recent events, Poulos says an emphasis has been placed on active shooter training.
“The cadets went through active shooter training this week. On the heels of the current events, it’s a very important aspect of our training. There’s a good possibility that a trooper could be the first one on scene in an active shooter situation. That training is taken very seriously, and the cadets realize that it’s another component of being a trooper,” Poulos said.
Trooper school began back in October 2017 with 90 cadets and 30 alternates.