JOHNSTON, Iowa — Iowa State Patrol: we see them on the streets and highways every day. But becoming a Trooper takes commitment. We visited DPS recruits in their sixth week of a 20-week training program — and it’s not easy.
Recruit Michelle Beck is a former Marine. She says the training here is on par with Parris Island. “The intent of the training is the same. It’s to get us to pay attention to the details. Always be on our toes. Mentally, that was a little more challenging. But physically this is a lot more challenging. They push us to our limits physically,” Beck says.
Trooper Nathan Ludwig says the physical conditioning helps prepare future troopers. “Pushups, situps, long distance running, you’ve gotta be physically fit. you can’t come here out of shape.”
For 20-weeks these 14-recruits will eat, sleep and train together, all the while living at Camp Dodge. This week, they’re honing their hand-to-hand combat skills.
“We’ll have about 60-to-70 hours primarily dealing with ground fighting, boxing, handcuffing, really hands on with people whether it be knee strikes leg or hand strikes,” Ludwig says.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety opened the training up to us Tuesday because they’re recruiting Troopers for the next class and getting the right people to sign up has gotten harder and harder over the years.
“In 1987 we had 4,000 people apply. And I don’t know if it’s people don’t want to be police officers, whether it’s the pay or the danger,” Ludwig says, “It’s a great career. State Police Officer, no day’s the same. What can I say but it’s more rewarding than job that anybody will ever have.”
Those interested in a career with the Iowa State Patrol can log on to dpscareers.com. The deadline to apply for the next academy is August 19.