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OHP Graduates New SW OK Troopers

LAWTON Okla_ Forty new Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers graduated from the training academy Thursday, and eight of them will be working here in Southwest Oklahoma.

Four will become a part of Troop G, covering Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson and Stephens counties. The others will join Troop M, covering Jackson, Tillman, Harmon, Greer and Kiowa counties. 

Southwest Oklahoma was awarded nearly 1/10th of the class due to its critical need for additional manpower. Our area's newest troopers talked to 7News about their journey to becoming a part of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

After 20 weeks in the academy, all of the area's graduating cadets expressed a sense of relief and accomplishment. Thursday's graduation and commissioning was a goal they had been working to achieve for a long time.

"For me, it was several years ago," Trooper Jeff Fielder said. "I had a senior trooper that made a big influence on me just watching his day-to-day interactions with the community. Because of the impact that he made on me, I knew right then and there that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a difference in others lives the way that he had helped me."

For Jeff Fielder, becoming a state trooper was a dream come true, but one that took a lot of hard work in the academy to achieve.

"It was intense," Fielder said. "Words can't describe it. It was very structured. I think that the hardest part is just the day-to-day grind of knowing exactly what you have to do literally every hour, all day long."

Trooper Mitchell Conley shared a similar account on the intensity of the training leading up to Thursday's graduation. For both the end result was well worth it.

"It was tough, harder than I imagined it would be," Conley said. "It was physical exhaustion and mental exhaustion. They really push you to your limit. They teach you how to function under stress. It was terrible going through it, but looking back, I am glad that I did it. It makes you a better person. It really sharpens you up."

Captain Mike McClelland spoke highly of the area's eight new troopers. He said that making it through the academy was a very hard accomplishment, but he knows that by graduation, all are ready to take on any challenge placed in front of them.

"I am extremely confident that all of them are going to be great employees and wonderful state troopers for our area," McClelland said.

Our area was in critical need of new troopers.

"We had detachments that were at 60-70% or lower on manpower, so those areas became first on the allocation list," McClelland said.

Trooper Conley and Trooper Fielder are excited to start their careers in Southwest Oklahoma.

"We have had all this training," Conley said. "I am ready to get out on the street and put it to work."

"I am excited to put into play all of the things that we have learned," Fielder said. "It's a new area for me. I am excited to learn a new part of the state and meet new people."

The troopers said the training does not stop for them. They will undergo three months of field training with senior troopers before taking the road on their own.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol also had 5 female cadets graduate Thursday. This is the largest class of female cadets in the history of the program, and it increases OHP's female ranks by 33%.

 

 

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