HAMBURG, N.Y. -- The deadline to sign up for the next round of New York State Police entrance exams is September 1, and the number of people signing up is lower than it was four years ago when the exams were last offered.
2 On Your Side spoke with State Police on Monday about why that is, and about what it takes to become a State Trooper.
"We want a class of let's say two-hundred, we may start with about 1500, 2000 applicants and that will come in and through all the processing, we'll end up with about 200, 225," says New York State Trooper Jim O'Callaghan.
O’Callaghan and his colleagues are at the Erie County Fair, showing fairgoers the different aspects of their careers as State Troopers.
"We're looking for a lot of people to diversify our workforce. So, you may have a degree in engineering, or maybe you have a degree in forensics, or something like that, that is the person we need. It's not just the criminal justice person going into college, we're looking for everything because our job does offer a lot of different avenues of law enforcement," he says.
From K-9 Units, to helicopter pilots, and bomb techs, if you are at least 20-years-old this October, and under 30 (unless you have military experience), and if you have 60 college credits and a high school diploma, you can sign up to take the test in October.
If you do well on that, you'll be asked back to take a physical test.
"With that, you'll do an extensive background ending with a polygraph, and we have about a one in 50 pass fail-ratio," says O’Callaghan.
After that, O'Callaghan says you'd likely be assigned to go downstate or to the Adirondacks at first.
So why are fewer people signing up for the test this year, especially with a starting salary of more than $53,000 and a salary of $90,000 after five years?
"The environment may be, worldly environment with law enforcement four years ago, even with terrorism, I mean you throw that on there, a lot has changed even in four years last time we gave our test. So, I think a lot of people, they're unsure or maybe the safety of the job isn't there, but with training and with knowledge and we go through a rigorous six-month academy and on the job training, we prepare a lot of people on our job to do exactly the task that's needed," says O’Callaghan.
ECC says its Law Enforcement Training Academy numbers are up. ECC says it has 53 students in its current class. The average class size a few years back was 43, but they go up substantially when Buffalo is hiring and they had a lot of vacancies they filled in the past year.