Louisiana State Troopers’ Graduating Class
By Curt Guillory
May is typically a month for graduations, but at the BREC Independence Park Theater and Cultural Center in Baton Rouge a very special graduation ceremony took place. Cadet Class #92 of the Louisiana State Troopers Academy received their badges signifying them officially as Louisiana State Troopers.
In order to be a part of the highly trained and effective police force composing the Louisiana State Troopers, a person must first successfully complete the Louisiana State Trooper Training Academy. At this academy the cadets receive the basic knowledge and training required to be a state trooper. The academy is necessary in order to give cadets proper instruction for various situations they are likely to encounter from day one on their respective patrols.
I was able to spend some time with Troop I Public Information Officer Trooper Steven Hammons to talk about this graduating class.
The Requirements And The Process
According to Trooper Hammons 46 cadets graduated from the academy, and of those, Troop I received eight new troopers. When asked if there is a training academy every year, Hammons replied, “No. This is the first academy in four years, and the frequency of training academies depends on state funding.”
We can now see the process start to unfold a bit. A prospective cadet must first take a written test. Upon successful completion of that test he must then wait until the next training academy session, but he cannot work for the Louisiana State Troopers until he successfully graduates from the academy. He must continue working at his present job until the academy session begins. For the next 19 weeks the cadet’s family must support him throughout his training, because cadets spend the entire week at the academy and weekends at their homes. In order for this process to meet a successful end, a great deal of commitment is required of not only the cadet, but his family as well.
According to Trooper Hammons, during the 19-week academy the training is tough and the hours are long. A typical day will show the cadets hours of rigorous physical training, classroom education on Louisiana State laws, State Trooper policy, various emergency and civil scenarios and crash site management among many other topics. When asked if cadets work at their home troop until they attend the academy, he explained that, “No one can work as a Louisiana State Trooper until they have successfully completed the academy.”
Unique And Specialized Training
Like many others, I imagined that academy training was military style, and the image of a drill sergeant banging a garbage can in the morning to wake up cadets weighed in my mind. I discovered my impressions were incorrect. Trooper Hammons explained that though physical and endurance training is a part of every phase of the academy, a specialized type of training is also important. “A large portion of our training has to do with public interactions, personal interactions, investigations, policy, state law and testing.” Trooper Hammons made it clear that learning to interact with individual citizens and the public at large is just as important as physical aptitude, crisis management, investigations, criminal activity or any other aspect of being a Louisiana State Trooper.
Only The Best Will Make It
I asked Trooper Hammons if everyone who enters the academy graduates as a Louisiana State Trooper. He said, “No. In this graduating class, 61 started the academy, but only 46 made it to graduation.” Obviously the training at the academy is not simply a matter of going through the motions, but it is designed to select the best of each cadet class. This is reassuring to the citizens of Louisiana knowing that the proper intensive training is in place to provide us with the very best troopers.
Questioning Trooper Hammons, I inquired about cadet graduates. Are they ready to go into action? He informed me that when new troopers reach their respective troops, “They are paired with veteran troopers for a period of time to continue training and implementing what they have learned at the academy.” He also made it clear to me that training is constantly ongoing for troopers no matter their level of experience.
A Class Of Outstanding Graduates
As the Louisiana State Troopers press release states, “61 cadets from across the state began the rigorous Training Academy on January 12th of this year. Cadets trained in areas such as crash investigation, emergency vehicle operations, DWI detection, traffic incident management and leadership. 46 of those cadets graduated to become Troopers and take their official oath of office as they begin their careers of dedication, protection and service to the citizens of Louisiana.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson has this to say about the Academy’s graduating class, “I am extremely honored to present our newest graduating class of Louisiana State Troopers. The badge they will receive is not a given right but a privilege earned and granted to them by the citizens of Louisiana. These men and women will be sent out across our state to protect life and serve their communities as uniform patrol troopers. They will be held to the highest standards of honor, integrity, respect and service to continue the proud tradition of the Louisiana State Police.”
Proud – And Protected
It is obvious that a high level of discipline and commitment is required just to pass the initial training demanded by The Louisiana State Troopers. We now know that these new troopers have what it takes to be productive members of this elite group. It is comforting to know that our state police force is so well trained. The next time you meet a Louisiana State Trooper you will have an idea of what it took for them to be able to wear that uniform.
Editor’s Note: The Louisiana State Police is now taking applications for testing for the next academy. Applications can be found at lsp.org.