State Trooper Essay – Criminal Justice Essays
“More than half of the highway patrols and state police function as one agency within the states Department of Public Safety. Others operate as separate agencies whose chief administrators report directly to the governor. There are currently more then 58,000 sworn
officers representing state police and highway patrols” (Stinchcomb 46). As stated in the Occupational Outlook Handbook developed by the Department of Labor, state troopers are often referred to as highway patrol officers, and state traffic officers. The major responsibility of a state trooper is to ensure public safety on the roadways. This includes patrolling the major highways, enforcing traffic laws, dealing with accidents, and other emergencies. State troopers must also enforce criminal laws such as burglary or assault. They may also be called in to help city or county police apprehend lawbreakers and control civil disturbances. All states with the exception of Hawaii have a statewide police force (qtd. in U.S. Department of Labor 368).
As describe in the online site state.de.us, “state troopers must demonstrate good judgment, thoroughness, conscientiousness, common sense, motivation, and enthusiasm for the job. They must be dependable and willing to get involved in order to help deal with the problems of today’s society, Troopers have to be able to assume responsibility and make decisions often under pressure. They have to be able to work without supervision, follow orders, and function well under pressure.”
“Activities of state troopers vary from state to state. Some duties they may have to perform are patrolling state and interstate highway, and enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws. State police officers work a five-day 40-hour week, with rotating shifts. Some states however, such as New Jersey use a 4/10 shift rotations. This means they work four days a week for ten hours each day. Sometimes they will have to work holidays, and weekends because protection is need 24/7. Most troopers patrol the highways of their states in cars and motorcycles, although some use planes, helicopters, and even boats. State police officers usually patrol alone although others work with a partner. They are constantly in contact with their communication centers to check in with their superior officers and receive orders. State troopers must always be prepared to work outdoors for long periods of time in all kinds of weather, and they must always be prepared to use a gun.” (Learning Express chapter 3 pg. 4).
As mentioned in the online site state.de.us., “troopers are required to perform duties such as sending and receiving radio and teletype messages, maintaining records and responding to telephone inquires concerning road conditions and locations. They are also responsible for preparing written memos and reports.” The daily routines of state troopers include moving vehicles checks and helping motorists. They are usually the first to arrive at a highway accidents where they have to provide emergency care, and gather evidence on the cause of the accident. (Learning Express chapter 3 pg. 3-4).
Qualifications for the position of state trooper vary from state to state. All applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 35 at the time of the appointment. State police agencies require a high school diploma, but most people with college training have a greater advantage. Many states require a certain number of college credits. All applicants must receive a passing mark on a written civil service examination as well as a qualifying rating on an interview conducted by a police board of examiners. Each applicant must pass a comprehensive medical examination, and some states require candidates to undergo psychological and psychiatric testing to determine emotional stability and suitability for this work. Applicants are also given performance tests designed to measure their strength, agility, and stamina. Background information gathered on each applicant to determine general character, honesty, past history, and overall suitability for the job. Those who meet all the entry requirements of the state police agency are placed on a certified civil service list of eligible’s and are selected from this list as vacancies occur. The recruits enter training school on a probationary basis, and must complete an intensive training program of approximately 12 to 16weeks. Candidates who successfully conclude this training are assigned to duty on a probationary basis for a period ranging from six months to one year or longer, depending on state policy ( qtd. in Hammer and Scheinkman 5).
As mentioned in the online site njsp.org, “the income of State troopers varies by state but is determined by rank. The higher you go in rank the more you can expect to earn. The current starting salary for a New Jersey trooper is $53,576.46 a year (including a uniform allowance) Troopers also receive yearly raises. Members of the State Police are given medical and dental coverage, and are also offered a prescription drug and vision care program. Troopers are given vacation and personal days. State troopers are covered by a group Life Insurance Policy, and are eligible to participate in a deferred compensation plan or supplemental annuity plan to supplement retirement income.”
“The demand for troopers is expected to be good through 2012” (Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance 58). Because society is more conscious about security and because of drug related crimes there will be a need for more state troopers. As troopers retire or die there will be more openings for trooper positions. State Trooper employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for other occupations. Troopers will be needed in criminal investigation and other non-highway functions, but the greatest demand will be for Troopers to work in highway patrol. Because law enforcement work is becoming more complex specialists will be needed to develop administrative and criminal information systems (Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance 58).