SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Police is trying a new approach to get troopers trained and on the road at a faster pace. The new Accelerated Cadet Program would cut the normal timeline for a class to become a State Trooper in half.
However, State Police Spokesman First Sgt. Mike Baylous defends the program and said it in no way reduces the rigid level of training for which the State Police Academy is known.
“It’s allowing certified officers already serving in West Virginia who have graduated the basic course to apply for a State Police Cadet Class,” Baylous said. “It’s basically getting credit for the classes they have already completed at the academy.”
The program will start with the 64th Cadet Class which is due to begin in March 2014. It will only be open to those who are already serving with another law enforcement agency and have completed the basic police training course. Baylous couldn’t say the exact percentage of recruits who are already law enforcement officers, but added it’s substantial.
“We do get quite a bit of prior law enforcement and prior military,” he said.
The basic course offers 11 weeks of training. Baylous said a typical State Police Cadet Class runs 25 weeks, but the first half is normally the same material offered in the basic course.
“We didn’t see a need for them to retake classes they had already completed,” he said. “We’re having to be creative and come up with ways to address the manpower issue. This was one way we saw that was cost effective and allow us the quickest way to have ‘boots on the ground.’”
The 63rd Cadet Class, which has 21 members, began its 25-week training earlier this week.