State Patrol looking for new troopers

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After a pursuit last month during which speeds exceeded 120 mph, Colorado State Trooper Roger Kendall asked the driver why he ran from troopers through Wyoming, Craig and Steamboat.

"He told me he was late for church," Kendall said.

It's types of excuses like this that keep the job interesting for Kendall.

"It can be fun," he said.

Interesting excuses, different specialty areas and competitive pay are some of the perks to being a state trooper, an opportunity now available as the Colorado State Patrol recruits applicants for its next cadet class.

Applicants must be 21 by the time cadet class starts, have a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver's license and no felony or domestic violence convictions.

Applications are screened to ensure applicants meet the requirements. Those who make it through the application process must take a written test, which covers math, reasoning and reading comprehension.

Passing the written test moves the applicant into the interview process.

After completing a background investigation and polygraph test, an applicant may be offered a job on the conditions that he or she pass a urinalysis, psychological evaluation, physical agility test and a medical exam.

At the time of the job offer, applicants will get to choose where they work based on which areas have openings.

Craig does not have any openings.

New hires are sent to the State Patrol Academy for a 22-week mandatory course and then are required to do a 10-week field training program. Troopers get paid $3,147 per month through their training. After that, they make a minimum of $3,643 a month.

The process is highly selective, Kendall said, and only a select few of applicants are accepted. The pay is generally higher than any other law enforcement agency.

Kendall has enjoyed his 22 years with the State Patrol.

"Law enforcement is a family in itself," he said. "I've met a lot of nice people and a lot of bad people, but mostly just nice people."

Kendall said he joined the State Patrol after working with a sheriff's office in Louisiana. One reason he joined was because of all the opportunities the job offered.

"There are a variety of things you can get involved in," he said. "There were many different opportunities for this job when I started."

Although Kendall encourages anyone interested to apply, he said it takes a specific type of person to be a state trooper.

New trooper Rachel Luchaco fits Kendall's description of what a state trooper should be.

"I've always wanted to be in law enforcement," she said. "I've always wanted to help kids."

Luchaco, who graduated from cadet school in June, used to work in a coroner's office, where she did autopsies and dealt with law enforcement officials all of the time.

She said the State Patrol caught her eye.

"The professionalism in the State Patrol is higher than a lot of other agencies," she said.

Kendall, who is set to retire sometime next year, said his has been a fulfilling career -- one that he recommends.

"It's been a good career," he said. "It will also be good retirement pay."

Those interested in applying may contact Trooper Brad Millard at (970) 209-2955.

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