Physical, mental challenges await MHP cadets - - Jackson, MS

Physical, mental challenges await MHP cadets

Dozens of cadets march in step during the second day of the Mississippi Highway Patrol's training academy. Dozens of cadets march in step during the second day of the Mississippi Highway Patrol's training academy.
RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the second day of the Mississippi Highway Patrol's trooper school already in the books, the list of cadets continues to drop. That's expected in a program that's incredibly rigorous to those who make it through.

Much of the action that took place at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy looks like military exercises. Those who've been through the experience before say that's accurate, with one Marine comparing his experience to Parris Island.

"You really don't know the magnitude of what's going to be asked of you," said MHP Director of Training Capt. Lori Smith. "You don't know what's required to get you to where you can function on your own in a rural environment and possibly defend yourself against multiple assailants for long periods of time."

That's why Smith says these 75 cadets are pushed so hard: physical and mental testing.

"When they graduate, they will be the cream of the crop. They will be the best we can offer," said Smith. "They'll be very educated and fit. This is probably going to be one of the most educated classes we've ever had coming though."

Even the facility's obstacle course, dubbed the Rose Garden, may look fun from afar, but the challenges for young and old alike are incredibly grueling.

In fact, a 15-foot wall climb awaited cadets who made it past everything else. Add to that the classroom training cadets sit through during the 21-week training session.

The 75 cadets will go through three weeks of accident reconstruction training alone. By contrast, a typical police officer usually goes through a few days at police academy.

"Their defensive tactics training is very, very physical. They have that for weeks," added Smith. "They have hours and hours of defensive tactics and officer safety training that teaches them stand-up tactics as well as ground fighting. And that's very, very physical. So it's very demanding, physically."

The program, plus the equipment and vehicles for the graduates, cost a little more than $7 million.

Smith said for them to be able to be comfortable in how many troopers they have statewide, they'd need several of these schools year after year, but they'll take whatever help they can get.

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