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Some Question Intensity of Mississippi Trooper School

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Jul 2011 04:11pm | comments
Cadets line up for chow

Some are questioning the intensity of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper School following a number of hospitalizations during the school's first week. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the highway patrol thinks its training is safe and is not planning on making any changes.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper school has a reputation for being one of the toughest in the nation, and in the week since the school started, 61 of the 134 starting cadets have dropped out and 7 have spent time in the hospital.

Under a baking sun with the temperature near 100 degrees, the remaining Mississippi highway patrol cadets march, exercise and get instruction from the their trainers.

The only cadet to return to school after a trip to the hospital is cadet Raphael Fields...39-year old Fields says he had no doubt that he would return to the program when he left the hospital.

"I pray every day. I pray every day, all day. I see God everyday about this thing. I don't look to the future. I just take it one minute by one minute and that is how I will make through," Fields said.

Some have questioned the intensity of the program because of the number of drop outs and hospitalizations.

Trainer Marshall Pack says they have a number of precautions to protect cadets such as requiring them carry a water bottle and following military hydration guidelines.

"We tell them when they get here that we are going to let you know what your limits are. And that is the way it has to be. Because, like the Captain said, you are not going to be able to call 'time out' out there on the side of the road when someone is chocking you our or someone is trying to take your weapon from you or someone needs help. You are not going to be able to call 'time out'. That's what we get paid to do, we get paid to save lives," Pack said.

Public Safety commissioner Albert Santa Cruz blames number of drop outs on unprepared recruits and says they have no plans of making changes.

"If you look at the people that we have got left here, those people want to be state troopers. I made a statement to start off with the day they got here; 'if you are looking for a job, you need to leave. You are wasting your time and our time'," Santa Cruz said.

There are about 350 troopers on Mississippi's roads, far short of the 500 Santa Cruz says that he wants....but he also says he will not drop his standards just to inflate the number of troopers available.



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