The Mississippi Highway Patrol started their 19-week trooper school yesterday and it could not have come at a better time.
“We are definitely dealing with severe manpower issues right now, just due to attrition and again, the trooper school definitely adds to our ranks and it helps serve and protect the people of Mississippi,” said Captain Johnny Poulos with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
He said that roughly 150 troopers could retire today.
“It is our responsibility with the Mississippi highway patrol to patrol interstate systems and highway systems across the state,” said Poulos. “It is our job to provide support to local law enforcement agencies. We have 10,983 miles of highway and interstate systems throughout the state. MHP is responsible for covering 80% of that 10,983 miles. That’s a huge responsibility so when we have a trooper school it definitely adds to our manpower, the troopers on the road and being able to provide that public safety and help law enforcement across the state.”
Poulos added that the training is intense because the cadets have to be prepared to be law enforcement officers in today’s society.
“When you monitor the news outlets, there’s always something out there every day where a law enforcement officer is involved in some type of incident,” said Poulos. “With active shooter situation, we are seeing more and more of that. Our training has to change to accommodate these issues. These law enforcement officers have to have what it takes to go out every day and serve the public, but the most important thing. They have to have what it takes to make it back home safely.
Polous said that it is for that reason why the Mississippi Highway patrol is so mentally and physically demanding.
“At the end of the day, when those troopers get the badge pinned on them, they have what it takes to be a Mississippi state trooper,” said Poulos.
91 cadets began yesterday and they are hoping to graduate 60 of them at the end of the next 19 weeks.
Polous said that 29 alternates are standing by to fill in for the cadets who choose to sign out.
The trooper school will graduate their cadets March 6th, 2018.