State troopers are among the most qualified and well trained law enforcement officers within any state. State police organizations recruit from among the most capable applicants and supply elite training to create a law enforcement organization that can stand up to any challenge. These officers manage a host of responsibilities including traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, missing persons, narcotics trafficking, special operations and even counter-terrorism.
Troopers receive the foundation for excellence through expert instruction at each state-based State Trooper Training Academy. These programs are usually longer than those for local police because they typically include advanced training on specialized topics as well as more detailed instruction in common police subjects. Many training programs for state police may last from 16 to 26 weeks.
Most state trooper training academies are modeled on military style boot camps. Recruits are usually housed at the academy and subjected to a rigorous physical training program that is integrated with exhaustive classroom instruction. Recruits are expected to maintain their living spaces and persons at the highest levels of cleanliness and organization. Training programs also emphasize loyalty to the organization and other officers.
The basis for police performance begins with excellent physical condition. State troopers will encounter a number of situations in which strength, speed, and stamina can be the difference between life and death. All state trooper training systems demand that recruits enter with outstanding physical ability and then improve upon that. These rigorous programs are designed to condition recruits to the peak of their potential and instill a lifelong desire to maintain that peak.
State Trooper Non-Lethal Defense and Apprehension Training
In addition to strenuous runs and strength training, recruits will be taught a variety of techniques to incapacitate an attacker. This will begin with bare hands so that the officer will gain a firm awareness of their bodies and their limitations. Elite instructors will teach methods to defend one’s self from others with or without weapons. Many of these techniques have been gathered from centuries-old martial arts as well as the latest methods of the world’s most respected military units.
Once mastery of bare-handed techniques has been obtained, recruits will receive instruction in close combat weapons. This will include self-defense and compliance techniques using the baton. This weapon may be used against an individual or within a group such as a riot. Because of the lethality of this weapon, recruits will be taught acceptable and unacceptable methods of employment.
Tasers and chemical agents are widely used by state troopers for their effectiveness and limited lethality. Recruits will be schooled in the situations requiring their use, neutralization techniques and safety issues.
State Trooper Firearms Training
Firearms are a weapon of last resort, but skill in their use is critical. Most training programs mandate that state troopers have at least a 75 percent or higher accuracy rate with handguns and shotguns. Some states may expect recruits to possess 90 percent accuracy. Firearms represent a serious public safety concern to suspects, other officers and bystanders, so most training programs rigorously instruct recruits in when and how to use lethal weapons.
State Trooper Driver Training
Defensive driving is an essential skill for state troopers. Troopers will obtain proficiency in operation of automobiles, motorcycles and, in some cases, specialized vehicles. A state police vehicle is usually modified for heightened speed and maneuverability as well as outfitted with information systems. These features make state police vehicles extremely important to supporting state troopers on the job. Driving courses will provide expertise in how to operate police vehicles in:
- High speed chase
- Collision avoidance
- Skid control
At least as important as the physical elements of state trooper training are the academic topics that will be covered. These courses provide the intellectual framework for enforcing national, state and local laws. The education received in constitutional law, civil rights and police operations allow state troopers to effectively monitor, investigate and eliminate criminal activity. Without a firm grasp of the legal limits of their authority, state troopers would often put themselves and others at risk of physical harm or criminal prosecution.
Among the many topics that will be introduced in the state trooper training academy are
- Collision investigation
- Abnormal behavior awareness
- Crime scene investigations
- Officer survival
- Report writing
- Juvenile crimes
In addition to the academic bases for applying the law and responding to criminal behavior, state troopers will also receive specialized instruction in police organizations and agency procedures. This knowledge will help recruits understand their responsibilities and roles when conducting activities within the organization and in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies within the state.