NC Highway Patrol Seeks New Recruits - WSPA.com

NC Highway Patrol Seeks New Recruits

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Budget cuts put a dent in the number of officers patrolling the roads, but Trooper Recruiter Jason Metcalf says the agency is looking to quickly fill those empty positions. Budget cuts put a dent in the number of officers patrolling the roads, but Trooper Recruiter Jason Metcalf says the agency is looking to quickly fill those empty positions.
HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. -

Working at McAbee's Fruit Stand, an open-air market along I-26, Sherrie Stepp will occasionally stop what she is doing and watch the cars and trucks whiz by.

"There are more people on the road, a lot more," Stepp said.

But Stepp hasn't noticed any more troopers on the roadway.

After several years of budget cuts, N.C. Highway Patrol implemented a hiring freeze. The agency is now down 203 officers.

"We have got to maintain number of troopers on the roads to keep people safe," said Jason Metcalf, who's overseeing the recruitment efforts in Western North Carolina.

The highway patrol is currently looking for 80 qualified applicants to go through patrol school in Raleigh.

Those with no background in law enforcement are required to pass a 30 week training course or 15 weeks for individuals that have Basic Law Enforcement Training certification.

Starting pay is $34,000 while in school. Graduating officers are then eligible for a 5 percent raise, according to Metcalf.

"The rewards you get being a trooper is worth more than money to me," Metcalf said.

Officers not only patrol the roads. The highway patrol also has several different units, such as motorcycle, aviation, drug interdiction, security for the governor and motor carrier inspections.

Metcalf says the highway patrol is responsible for some 87,000 miles of roadway, second only to Texas.

"The more people see troopers, it has been proven, the less accidents we have," said Metcalf. "Our presence alone is a deterrent."

Stepp admits that she doesn't ever want to see blue lights flashing behind her, but she does not want to not see them either.

"It makes me feel safe to know that they are out there."

N.C. Highway Patrol will be taking applications for its next patrol school until Dec. 31, 2013. Classes are tentatively scheduled to begin in May 2014.

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