INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Police is looking for its next class of recruits to join the ranks alongside some 1,300 enforcement personnel.
For the last three weeks, Erin Fillenwarth has been learning the ropes on Indy’s roads as a probationary trooper.
“It means I’m learning how to be a trooper right now. I’m right now with an FTO (Field Training Officer) and he’s teaching me everything I need to know about how to be a trooper on the road,” the Indianapolis native said. The probationary period lasts for a year.
Last month, the 25-year-old graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. “It was a good experience. I learned a whole lot,” Fillenwarth said.
Up next at the academy is the 81st Recruit Academy Class and applications are still open. “We are looking for quality individuals that are looking to serve their communities and be a part of their community. Our troopers work every day within their communities here in Indianapolis and then in the rural areas throughout the whole state,” Indiana State Police Sergeant Michael Wood said. The Bloomington District Public Information Officer said class size varies, but usually are between 50 to 60 people.
Wood has served as a trooper for almost 14 years and spent five as the Assistant Commander of the Academy. Last year, he said changes were made to the training curriculum.
“It’s really rewarding when watching recruits take these very minuet skills that they learn along the way and that will turn into a scenario-based training where they put everything together. So we kind of call it a crawl, walk, run mentality through the academy,” Wood said.
Training is completed over 25 weeks and consists of a rigorous schedule Monday-Friday while living at the academy. It is a time, Fillenwarth said brought her close to her fellow troopers. “Especially with the females we created a bond too because there were only four of us compared to starting with 40 something males, so we definitely got close and we can relate to each other,” she said.
Wood added diversity within recruit academy class's is extremely important. “We’re only as good as our members of our department and if we can have different cultures, different communities come together, be troopers and be a part of this department, it will make us stronger,” she said.
Drive, determination and attention to detail are three things Fillenwarth said make for a good trooper. Her advice for those wanting to join her and attend the academy is simple.
“Make sure you’re physically fit,” she said.
For those interested, the deadline to apply is quickly approaching. Online applications close on Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
State Police note the starting salary for troopers after the completion of the academy is $48,000 a year. During the academy, starting salary is a little more than $1,600 bi-weekly.
Click here for more information on how to apply and the qualifications to do so.