Among the graduates are Jodi E. Bowlen of Austintown, who is now serving at the Bucyrus Post; Daniel L. Deluca of Boardman, who is now stationed at the Mansfield Post; and Joshua B. Bumgardner from Scio and Darren R. Johnson from Hopedale, who have both taken their assignments to the Canfield Post.
Making it as a trooper is a tough road that starts with a simple application.
According to Canfield Post Commander Lt. Chris Heverly, anyone can apply to the Patrol Academy as long as they have a high school diploma or G.E.D. Along with the application is a background investigation, physical and a testing process. If a candidate passes, the next step is to wait for a call. The call is to report to the academy for a seven-month, intense training program.
“The cadet will reside at the academy 24 hours/five days a week until completed,” Heverly said.
He clarified that the 24 hours simply means one lives at the academy in Columbus five days a week. They can return home on the weekends. The 24 hours covers the wide array of classes that can take place during daylight hours, or at night. It doesn’t mean they will be training the full 24 hours, but the training is intense.
Heverly said when he attended it was a six-month academy. As new materials and topics are added to the training, it is extended to give time to cover the topics. The present academy was seven months long, or 29 weeks.
For the 46 recent graduates from this year’s academy, the positions they will be filling are scattered throughout the state. A lot is taken into consideration before the graduate gets his or her first assignment.
Heverly said the academy ranks the cadets according to their skills in various categories like firearms, fitness, ect. The next step actually takes place at the active posts in the state. Heverly said troopers can put in for a transfer from their present post prior to the cadets graduation. That gives a good picture at where new troopers will be needed.
He said the academy tries to place troopers where they will be a good fit.
“The cadets are watched closely by academy staff,” Heverly said. “If they are struggling through the academy, they would likely be placed at a slower post.”
Heverly said the Canfield Post is one of the highly active posts that require troopers to be on the top of their game. meaning someone who was struggling would not be a good fit.
The academy placement staff also takes into consideration the cadet’s family situation. For a single person who doesn’t own a home, any post in the state would be possible. For a cadets with a family or single with a home, the intent would be to keep the person as close to home as possible. Heverly said it is a change that helps new troopers in a market where they may have trouble relocated or selling a home.
“In older days they didn’t do that,” he said. “Today they try to work with them.”
The two graduates now serving at the Canfield Post were sent here because it was close to their home. The placement staff tries to keep the new troopers as close as possible and for Johnson and Bumgardner, Canfield was the nearest with openings.
On May 2, the new troopers started at their assigned posts, but their training is not totally complete yet. For 60 days they are partnered with a coach, who is a trooper that went through the three-day training program and has made the commitment to stay with the new person for the entire time period.
“For the coach, it means no vacations,” Heverly said. “They make the commitment to be there every shift with the new person.”
In that 60 days, the new trooper has to learn the area while gaining field experience. The coach has to keep records of everything the new person does be it good or not good. At the end of the 60 day coaching period, the post commander and coach sits down and discusses the new person.
“We discuss if we feel they are ready,” Heverly said. “If we feel they are, we cut them lose.”
At that point, the new trooper begins working shifts by him or her self. Also at that point, they will know that they have what it takes and have done what was required to become an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper.
Trooper Jodi E. Bowlen of Austintown was among the 46 cadets graduating from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s 150th Academy Class.