Looking for (more than) a few good troopers
In Troop G, which includes Rutherford County, Metcalf said there are currently 11 trooper vacancies.
"I can't ever remember us being that short in Rutherford," said Metcalf, who has served as a trooper for eight and a half years and a recruiter for a little over a year. "Within the next year and a half, we're expecting 15 additional vacancies on top of that."
Metcalf said in 1985 and 1986 combined, the NCHP provided five Patrol Schools and those troopers are getting ready to retire and therefore leave more open positions.
"Traditionally, we lose eight people a month but now we're putting recruitment into overdrive in order to fill those vacancies that we're going to have," he said.
To aid recruitment efforts, there will be two open houses for interested applicants at Reynolds Volunteer Fire Department (235 Charlotte Highway in Asheville) on April 26 and May 3. The informational sessions are 9 a.m. until noon and will discuss employment with the NCHP.
"We intend to explain everything from the initial online application process, to Patrol School and graduation, to field training and the job itself, all the way up through retirement," Metcalf said.
Basic qualifications for a NCHP Trooper include being between the ages of 21-39, having at least 20/100 vision, possessing a high school diploma or GED, being in good physical shape, having no felonies and having no convictions of serious misdemeanors within the last five years.
Applicants can begin the process at http:www.osp.state.nc.us/jobs/. The application deadline is July 1 and Patrol School starts on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, 2015.
Between the application submission and Patrol School in Raleigh, applications are processed and individuals undergo physical screenings, a polygraph test and a thorough background check. Those who successfully complete and pass all prerequisites then appear before a review board consisting of five uniformed members asking questions.
The next step is attending Patrol School, which takes about 30 weeks without prior law enforcement certification and 15 weeks with it. Upon finishing Patrol School, graduates will be placed with a field training officer for 13 weeks. After the field training period, troopers are out on their own.
Troopers have a choice to return to their hometowns or be assigned to another county in North Carolina.
"Many people who apply want to stay in their hometowns as troopers, and right now, they are eligible to return to whichever county they would like," Metcalf said. "In years past, the rule has been if you applied from Rutherford County for example, you couldn't be assigned to that county for a certain number of years. And while there is no guarantee that everyone will get to serve their home county, we're going to try to put people as close as possible to their first choice."
The two upcoming open house informational sessions will also discuss the many benefits of working with the NCHP, such as retirement and 401(k) contributions.
However, perhaps the best aspect of serving as a trooper are the personal benefits.
"The benefits of being a trooper are knowing that you really do make a difference — you're out here protecting people," Metcalf said. "Ultimately, every time I put that uniform on and get into my car I'm risking my life to protect the public, but I know I make a difference in my community."
Want to become a trooper?
Contact NCHP Trooper Jason Metcalf at 828-234-5603.