The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has extended the application period in hopes of receiving more applications for its next academy.
The application deadline for a spot in the 62nd Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy originally was Sunday, but is now June 30.
The patrol had received 389 applications as of Thursday afternoon, Capt. George Brown said.
Brown said officials would like to have more than 600 applications by the end of the month, giving them a large pool of qualified applicants to choose from.
There has been a steady decline in number of applicants in recent years, he said.
Troopers on lookout
“We are relying on troopers in the field to speak to people,” Brown said “We have tasked every state trooper with the mission of recruiting for this next school, and here's why — because they are ones out there seeing who's interested, seeing who's in the community, and they know, ultimately, this is going to be their partner in the field. They know the qualities and the characteristics that it takes to be a state trooper and whom best to identify those qualities than those troopers in the field.”
Officials hope to pick 60 to 62 qualified applicants for the 62nd Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy, he said.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen who is 23 to 45 years old when the academy begins Jan. 27.
Applicants also must pass a background check and have an associate degree or a minimum of 62 completed hours from an accredited college or university.
“It requires a lot. It's a very demanding career, but I think that's what the public expects from public servants,” Brown said.
The patrol has 925 authorized trooper positions and 742 troopers, he said.
It would take at least one academy every year for 15 years for the patrol to increase its ranks to 925 troopers, when factoring in retirement of current troopers, trooper Betsy Randolph said at the start of the 61st Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy in February.
Forty-two cadets remain in that class, which will graduate in July, Brown said.
To apply to become a state trooper, go to www.ohptroopers.com/recruiting.html or call the state Department of Public Safety human resources division at (405) 425-2424.